What is stress? Let’s see: How about police or military personnel finding themselves faced with difficult shoot/no-shoot decisions. To be sure, the possibility of getting shot is definitely a cause of stress, and the symptoms of stress in those situations are very clear. Time horizons contract and the immediacy of the situation can overwhelm all else; the fight or flight impulse can take over, sometimes with disastrous effects.
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.
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.
Interacting with students can be tricky, particularly if you are seeking active engagement on sensitive topics. We’ve already written about how some educators are using audience response systems (ARS) to present interactive classroom programs on sexual health, but topics that are ostensibly far less delicate can also benefit from the use of a classroom response system.
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.
If you ever want to see a classroom full of students simultaneously roll their eyes, speak the words “pop quiz.”
But it’s not just the students that groan. These impromptu assessments of student skills can take a toll on teachers, as well. Along with pulling together questions based on the subject matter, there’s the toil of presentation, paper collection, hand grading and returning results to students.