Technology in the classroom can be a distraction or it can be used to enhance students’ classroom experience. Stephanie Cole, an associate professor of history at the University of Texas, Arlington, has chosen the latter.
“Using technology changes not so much student behavior as my behavior,” Cole said in an article for Campus Technology. “It makes me craft lectures so that I can apply information and create questions and quizzes. You’ll be amazed at how it makes you rethink how to get information across.”
Cole uses an active learning platform that combines lecture-capture with student engagement, learner analytics, and content-management tools. The system allows her to lead discussions and field questions in real time, and also makes it possible for students to use their mobile devices to ask questions.
The mobile nature of the platform gives student the option to skip her class and watch lecture videos later, so Cole uses it to take attendance and rewards students for their engagement in the classroom. However, the 24/7 access to the course materials and lectures has led to higher grades.
“Great access to lecture material—that is, being able to hear a lecture that you missed or to listen to all or part of a lecture a second time—offers good students an advantage, especially if English isn’t your first language,” she said. “For those students, or where this course is their first exposure to U.S. and American history, keeping up with the class is easier because they can review the lectures at any time. I see more A’s and B’s from these hard-working students.”