Using Classroom Technology

Friday, May 20, 1-2:30 pm in S45
A demonstration and discussion of the use of iClickers, wireless tablets, and microscope projection units.

Discussion goals:

  1. Practice using the three different technologies.
  2. Share strategies and ideas about teaching with them
  3. Come away with some ideas to try out in future semesters
Michael Bollinger, Astronomy
Ian Duncan, Earth Sciences
Kristin Keenan, Earth Sciences
Bartini Lee
Russell McArthur, Earth Sciences
Sheri Miraglia, Biology
Crima Pogge, Biology
Wanda Simpson-Baczek, Earth Sciences
Debra Stastny, Radiation Therapy
Katryn Wiese, Earth Sciences

Action item:
  • Talk with IT about installing wireless transmitters in classrooms so students can use iClicker applications on their phones
Summary of discussion
  • Wireless tablet -- allows for use of the projection system as a whiteboard, so you can draw on slides and any image that appears on desktop screen. Comparison took place of Hitachi Starboard (wireless) and the Wacom brands that are tethered to computer. Those who have used it have said it does engage the students more when instructor can interact with slides and give tablet to students to interact with slide (point out or circle things). However, that requires the wireless version.

    It was also noted that the 2010 version of Microsoft Power Point allows users to draw on slides with different ink colors (like a whiteboard). The tablet, in such a case, simply allows for better dexterity. The tablet has its own software, which can be used to draw on any desktop image (not just PowerPoint). Personally, when I'm in Power Point, I use their built-in whiteboard software, but the tablet makes the process much easier.

  • iClickers -- Instructors shared their experiences using iClickers:
    • Making them required for a grade or just for attendance (varying strategies)
    • Using them regularly in class (from every 7 minutes, to every 2-3 slides)
    • Grading students on in-class answers and participation via iClickers
    • Getting student feedback that they really liked them embedded into the class and found themselves more engaged
    • Getting student feedback that it's tough not to be able to review a grade that has no paper version and that it's often hard to respond quickly enough, which can be solved if the iClickers are more regularly used and embedded in the lecture.
    • Using the iClicker to assess understanding of a concept during lecture and to allow students to build on basics.
    • Following iClicker questions with discussions, some of which might include misunderstandings of the question and hence ultimately leading to better questions.
    Strategies were discussed to handle students who forget an iClicker such as:
    • Letting students store them in a locked drawer in the classroom
    • Letting students borrow a neighbor's (so that two students work together with one device for that class)
    • Letting students borrow a spare for one class per semester.
    Strategies were discussed to handle cost:
    • Making iClicker more popular across campus would make students feel better about investing up to $40 for a device that they will continue to use.
    • iClicker app on phone is only $10 (but requires reliable wireless internet access in classroom)
    • The bookstore will buy back an iClicker, saving on the total cost
    Tomorrow's Professor article on using Clickers and losing the Lectures (Rick Reis)

  • In-class microscope projection -- Ideal for first-time use of slides and scopes, so students know what to look for. Combined with wireless tablet, it's possible to outline key characteristics and features, pointing at or drawing lines along things like setae, antennae, etc. Also ideal for live samples that move too quickly to keep under lens.

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