The University of Michigan is not only taking the initiative to be technologically innovative in the classroom, but making sure to set up checks and balances to help assure that what they are testing only enhances the engagement and ultimately the learning taking place among participants. In their recent development of LectureTools they have found that the student responses to using their own laptops rather than clickers has been shown to be a preferred method (and surely less of a cost to the university).
LectureTools started as a framework to investigate new methods for adding to class discourse by engaging students in text-based, image-based and simulation based responder questions. It was tested in a few classes last semester according to the university and it will soon be made available to their faculty at large. Developed by a professor of Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Sciences named Arthur F. Thurnau for use in a large lecture class, the tool is designed to create greater student engagement with lecture materials and discourse.
In a statement put out by Samson on behalf of the university at large, “Students learn better by being actively engaged in the lecture, offering their own feedback and discussing with their peers, as LectureTools allows them to do. We’re utilizing all the students’ propensities and abilities to multitask.”
In your experience, can you speak to either the validity of this statement or its unsoundness?