Educational researchers looking at active learning continue to extol its virtues. Active learning – which involves students actively engaging in the classroom and using active listening skills and skills to formulate meaning – has been credited with increasing student retention in both the short and long terms.
The bloggers at Meridia Interactive Solutions have posted several articles about the use of audience response systems (ARS) in school settings – mostly showcasing the value of ARS when it comes to pre-testing students, facilitating student engagement in sensitive conversations, and the like. Those make perfect sense, but the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) showed me a whole new role for ARS in an educational setting: RIT used ARS to help calm the frayed nerves of parents dropping their kids off for freshman orientation.
A recent paper on Audience Response Systems and Missingness Trends in JMIR Formative Research identified an issue that educators need to pay attention to when using ARS to discuss sensitive issues in a school setting. As we’ve noted elsewhere in discussing the value of using ARS to facilitate active student engagement, the anonymity of ARS can help shy students overcome their reticence and diffidence. It can give a voice to students who feel uncomfortable sharing the reality of their experiences.
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.
Student engagement is a priority for teachers who work hard to enrich the lives of their students through high-quality education. Today’s children have been raised with technology in all aspects of their lives, and the use of student response systems in the classroom can enhance learning and student engagement while erasing issues of peer pressure, shyness or embarrassment.
As a teacher or trainer, you often have a classroom full of students or trainees who you need to be ‘on the same page’ with. The problem is that many times, you’re on page 1, while some of the adventurous ones are already on page 3. Another time, you’re way ahead on page 7, while some people are lagging behind on #4.