Now there may be 5 steps to create the digital classroom, or 10 points to develop the perfect online lecture. These only problem is that these things take time, and people, often unaccustomed to change and weary of technology, need to feel comfortable before they can fully embrace the world of ones and zeros.
The University of Pretoria has adopted the use of RepsonseCards and QT devices in varying faculties, although they initially only started with a winter school program. After achieving a high success rate, they adopted the use of clickers in the mainstream curriculum for the Genetics and Biology faculty.
Instead of asking a question and getting a grunt of a response, an active question with real answers is instantly available, and can be tested in a few ways.
Genetics lecturer Mrs Pamela de Waal, commented that sometimes when you do something for a long time, things become obvious to you, even though they may not be for the student who hasn’t been exposed to it for twenty years. Even with a small class, it may be difficult gauge what students do and don’t understand.
In many study units, the first study units lead on to others, so if you lose students in the first, they’ll be at a disadvantage for the rest of the semester.
“Immediate assessment in invaluable. You cannot go through a whole semester and only take a test at the end. If students expect to need to answer a question of the topic being spoken of during a lecture, their concentration is upped, and they actively engage in conversation. By just by pressing a button, the student can tell if they’re right or wrong. Whether they understand or do not.”
Again, David Miller states that
“Students are given a task and asked to work in teams in order to find the best answer. When working in a team, students get involved in debates that make them come up with good arguments, which is what a person needs to retain information. Getting students involved using debates and interactions are more efficient than forcing them to listen to an old lecture.”
These debates and questions can be during or at the end of a lecture, and can even have the feeling of a game show, seeing who gets the quickest correct answer, or quizzing the class before and after a topic to assess understanding and growth of knowledge. Mike Broderick, the CEO of Turning Technologies, quoted in the article “How Colleges Use Gaming Technology to Keep Students Engaged Inside and Outside the Classroom” by Jessica Kennedy, states that
“Ten years ago, gaming was probably thought of more as being in primary education, but in secondary, post-secondary today, more and more of this data coming out says you can engage in a competitive environment. You’re involving so much more of their attention and focus than a traditional classroom environment might.”
As much as it benefits the students, it is also indispensable for lecturers. Without the feedback given with the ResponseCard clicker devices, the lecturers are going in blind as to the engagement, understanding and retention of information.
David Miller states that this means professors should turn to more focused discussions that end with immediate feedback delivery using clickers. They can gather quiz responses and display the anonymous results on one of the screens displayed in the classrooms. Clickers allow students to think more about a certain material, and guarantee that all the discussions carried are based on real-world experiences.