How can teachers make the students more active in the classrooms? Several teachers feel that there is a problem with the lack of student participation during lectures, most students don’t answer the questions the teachers ask, if they in fact even asks any questions. Sometimes it feels like the teacher just talks to the board and not the students. Maybe some students feel uncertain about the answer or maybe they are afraid of getting the answer incorrect. One solution to this problem might be to add more technology in the classroom. Peter Jochumzen, senior lecturer of economics at Lund University, found a solution in an mobile application called Socrative.
Then what is Socrative you might ask, it is an interactive mobile phone application that can be used in the classroom where the teacher creates his/her own questions and the students can answer them during the lecture. The app has a simple and easy design, and was created in order to help students and teachers to facilitate learning. The students answer questions with their phones and the results are shown live. The pros with this app is that it makes it easier for the teacher to see where the students struggle, so he/she can focus more attention to address that subject.
Peter says that he feels like traditional learning, where the teacher just hold lectures and students listen is not the most optimal for facilitating learning, rather it is pretty ineffective. He, and most recent studies, says that interactive problem solving during the classroom is the most effective way of learning. Furthermore he thinks that it’s a more effective way of using the teaching resources at the school and the students will get more out of their education this way.
Another good thing with this system is that it can be used so that students can receive points to the exam, this makes the students more active during class in order to get points. Peter made it clear that you don’t need to get all the questions right to get full points, you need around 75% of the questions right. This means that you can skip a few lectures or forget to answer some questions and still get full points. I believe this is a perfectly designed system, because it doesn’t put too much pressure on the students. It forces the students to keep up with the schedule and actually study before each lecture, and also as I feel, and many other students, you know what areas you don’t understand and need some help with.
Peter continues and tells me that he has received lots of positive feedback from the students and they feel that this is an excellent way of learning. Also he sees that this type of education material can be used in most courses here at the university, most he feels that for courses with a lot of math it’s perfect. However, I think that the concept of online questions during lectures can be transferred to courses without any math at all, like courses with a lot of theories.
So why don’t all teachers use this app? One thing might be it is time-consuming to create all the questions, which Peter says makes some teachers reluctant to change their opinion. But after the questions are written down, it is easy to maintain and update. However, most teachers are reluctant to change if they don’t get some outside pressure on them, like the students themselves demand this, or at least tells the institution that this is something that the school needs. I think this should be available in every course at LUSEM, so I hope that some of the readers will write to Education committee or directly to the school in order to change the school and make technology more used at this school in order to improve the quality of the education.