mlearn project

Charles Sturt University's Mobile Learning Project

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Using mobile to create an active classroom

Mobile is the most ubiquitous technology available in the world today. More people around the globe have access to mobile than radio, TV or cars. These pocket sized computing devices open up a range of uses to engage with students, remotely and in the classroom.  A web enabled phone opens up a range of applications to engage with students and make them active participants in the classroom rather than passive consumers. There are a range of Audience Response Systems, (or Classroom or Student Response Systems) that allow students to interact and participate in a range of ways, from answering questions, providing feedbacks or generating content. Lets have a quick look of the types of software out there.

These are free options but come with some limitations and caveats around class size and data transparency:

Socrative is a smart student response system that empowers teachers to engage their classrooms through a series of educational exercises and games via smartphones, laptops, and tablets. There is a limit of of 50 students that can be logged in a one time, but for many classes this will be adequate. Engage in quick multiple choice questions, exit questionnaires, quizzes, games and get feedback and reports instantaneously.

mQlicker is another free Audience Response System. It has many of the same features as Socrative but a few extras that could be quite helpful including unlimited audience size, easy participation using session key or permalink, results displayed in PowerPoint slides with live updates and can be displayed as harts: vertical bar, horizontal bar or pie charts, table of responses, interactive ‘sticky notes’ or word cloud. The user interface isn’t as simple as Socrative and seems more set up for anonymous reporting.

There is also a number of commercial software options that requires payment by the institution or student:

 Turning Technologies has developed the ‘clicker’ market and provides these and now web based data collection solutions for learning environments. The response technology can create interactive presentations but also could used to deliver assessment. It offers multiple-choice, alphanumeric, multiple response and essay question types.

Top Hat Monocle is a web-based clicker and online homework tool. Students can use any device to participate in class or for homework use. Questions can be open ended discussions and part of interactive demos or incorporated into presentation software, such as PowerPoint.

Lecture Tools, recently acquired by Echo360, is a quite expansive suite of tools you can use to engage your students. It provides the ability to present Interactive lectures, assess student performance and respond with a web browser or via SMS. Students can use the system to take notes associated with slides. Ask questions as they arise and deliver real-time feedback to instructors during class. Particiaption can work via laptop or cellphone to  or using the iPad app. This is probably the most full featured suite here and with a roadmap that includes integration with the Echo360 lecture recording system could provide a robust and expansive system for use on campus or off for truly blended and flexible study.

Finally, GoClass is a cloud enabled teaching application for tablet devices that redefines the boundaries of computing in the classroom. Connect with your student, customize and fine-tune your lesson plans on the fly, engage students in new ways and continuously evaluate their understanding while you are in class.

Had experiences with the software? Let us know how you went and what you think? Something missing? Let us know and we’ll add it to the list!