4.2.2 In-class technology for active learning

In-class learning technology

Active learning in class

Whilst most of the Handbook relates to online activities, there are clear opportunities for developing active learning within the lecture environment. Use of learning technologies allows for increased interaction in large group teaching, ways to influence the direction of a teaching session, in-class identification of knowledge gaps and collaboration within small groups.

Many of the approaches here will work well within traditional lecture environments, but also complement learning designs that utilise the online space for activities and knowledge-transfer, freeing up the face-to-face time for synchronous interaction and learning. See the previous pages on Blended Learning Design and the Flipped Classroom model.

Electronic Voting Systems & In-Class Polling

Electronic Voting Systems are one means of facilitating interaction opportunities within the live lecture. In-Class Polling allows for an instructor to engage even large cohorts in synchronous exercises to test the understanding and application of taught concepts. The technology is amenable to a range of different session designs, and may also be used within small cohorts or seminar-style situations as a method of facilitating anonymous responses or gauging cohort confidence in their own understanding.

For more information, see section 4.2.3 on Electronic Voting Systems

Case study

The webinar recording below shows how the use of in-class polling has supported active learning.

E-Learning Case Study

Webinar: Facilitating active learning

Use of podcasts, voting and videos.
Glenn Hurst, Chemistry
Watch Webinar

Collaborative documents

Utilising Google Docs, Sheets and Forms, you can create engaging in-class activities that require students to create and contribute content to shared spaces. Sheets and Forms can be used to gather data from a cohort in real time, then with the Sheet shared to all involved, the data analysed collectively or in small groups. One of the motivational factors here is that the data comes from the cohort and is owned by them, rather than originating from an abstracted source.

Google Docs can be used within smaller groups either to collect ideas or to complete templates which enable the students to demonstrate their understanding and learning to the lecturer. The lecturer would set up the Google Docs in advance and share with the cohort, allocating a document per group. The lecturer can view the Docs during the session and bring these up on the projection screen if required. The video below explains this process further (tablets are not essential, students can now use any mobile device with a browser or the Google Docs App):