Study shows students who use it reap the benefits.
The acceptance of electronics in the modern classroom is one that has proven a boon to students, who can more easily transcribe notes and access Internet-based source material being used in a lecture. Inversely, they have also become easy distractions from ongoing lectures. Random web searches, gaming or consumption of unrelated media could be taking place if they aren’t properly engaged.
With this understanding, several studies have been undertaken to determine how the devices already in students’ possession, such as laptops or mobile phones – could be used to better involve students in the classroom learning experience.
Audience response technology is among the tools studied, attempting to measure how it might improve student engagement, learning and testing. In one test conducted by German researchers, they looked at a single university freshman class that incorporated a web-based audience response system that featured live feedback for students to respond to in-class questions, the ability to give multiple choice or “best answer” quizzes, and a built-in chat wall that allowed students to address questions to the lecturer.
Questionnaires gauging student “deep learning” – their understanding of the concepts presented in class – and their level of cooperation were given at the class halfway point and at its conclusion. Results showed a clear increase in both areas for those who used the audience response system on a regular basis.
While this represents the results from just one study, instructors looking for a way to keep even larger classes engaged while at the same time improving the potential for students’ success can benefit from the use of an audience response system. At the same time, students who take the opportunity to use such systems as part of their study run a much better chance of performing well and retaining the contents of the curriculum.