By Mike Broderick, CEO of Turning Technologies
School is now in session nationwide, and just as in past years, schools are embracing education technology in greater numbers, trying out new digital solutions to improve learning, retention and, ultimately, test scores. Edtech can help educators at all grade levels increase pupil engagement, improve student outcomes and get a clearer picture of knowledge retention.
But the term “education technology” covers a lot of ground. Many educators who are looking for ways to integrate technology into their lesson plans are discovering the advantages of using edtech like polling software that enables instructors to embed questions into presentations and let students to respond via clickers or smartphones. They are considering ways to add more interactive elements to heighten student interest. Here are three ways edtech can help instructors engage, monitor and measure student progress this fall and beyond:
- Increase student engagement with interactive lessons. Before instructors can open students’ minds to new ideas, they have to capture their classes’ attention. That’s easier said than done, particularly with students who have been bombarded with personalized, interactive multimedia messages since toddlerhood. One way to improve engagement is to integrate interactive elements into every lesson plan. Polling software that allows instructors to ask students questions and display aggregate results in chart form onscreen is a great way to give students a stake in the lesson plan as it unfolds in the classroom. It also engages students who don’t normally participate in question-and-answer dialogs instead of relying on a show of hands to elicit responses.
- Improve educational outcomes with collaboration. Today’s students expect a certain amount of give-and-take in the learning process, so top-down lectures aren’t as effective as they were with previous generations. When instructors make a lecture a two-way conversation instead and use proven pedagogical techniques such as peer learning, outcomes improve. Instructors can use presentation software with embedded polling technology to pose open-ended questions and facilitate teamwork to solve problems and allow students to arrive at the correct answer. This approach can measurably improve knowledge retention while providing students with collaboration skills they’ll need to succeed in tomorrow’s workplace.
- Set baselines and monitor progress with polling technology. One of the biggest challenges teachers face is accurately gauging student progress during class time. In traditional question-and-answer sessions in the classroom, typically only a few students voluntarily participate. Instructors who rely on the more confident and extroverted students to gauge knowledge retention levels for the entire class may be leaving many students behind. Response technology enables teachers to begin lessons with a baseline knowledge quiz and continuously monitor progress with intermittent questions, displaying aggregate response results in chart form. This gives instructors real-time insights into how the class is progressing, which means they can change their strategy on the fly, moving on to the next topic if the class grasps the material and spending more time on subjects when students are struggling to master new concepts.
In edtech, media coverage tends to focus on high-profile, high-dollar implementations of the latest disruptive technology as applied to the classroom. But the fact is, with little fanfare, instructors are integrating proven technologies into their lesson plans every day — and generating measurable results. Assessment software, mobile instruction solutions and response systems can give educators new ways to reach students and improve test scores.
Educators who are looking for ways to embrace edtech this fall should consider solutions that can help them heighten student interest in lessons, enhance teamwork between peers and enable more accurate assessment of knowledge levels. Instructors who can engage, monitor and measure student progress will be better prepared to get students off to a great start this fall and ensure success all year long.