During the course of a lesson in an active learning environment, instructors may want to conduct some type of classroom poll, which can get complicated in a BYOD (“bring your own device”) environment. Fortunately, there are several options available that allow students to participate in classroom polls while using their own laptop or tablet, or even a phone.
- Kahoot – The company boasts commitment to keeping the product free, so responses are free up to 1000 participants. Additionally, results are exportable to Google Drive.
- Poll Everywhere – Students can simply text responses using their phone. Instructors receive up to 40 free responses and one year student access is $14.
- i>clicker REEF – While this service requires students to bring their own remote, there is a 2 week free trial offered and students can obtain an access code for $15.99 that tracks their quiz answers for a year.
- Audience Opinion – This is a simple app and is free up to 75 responses to professors with an “edu” email account.
- Direct Poll – Easy to use and free up to 500 responses, this one is a great pick for large lectures.
Depending on the needs of the class and instructor, there is sure to be a choice that will seamlessly incorporate BYOD polling into the curriculum.
(Source: University of Delaware)
One frequent headache for the average college student is dealing with textbooks. They’re expensive, used copies in decent condition can be hard to find, and textbook companies frequently come out with “new” editions that are minimally revised versions of the previous edition.
But an initiative out of Houston-based Rice University could help change that. OpenStax is on a mission to provide openly licensed college textbooks, many of which allow for open contributions from academics. After launching their first textbook in 2012, they have expanded to more than 20 different books. In August, they formed an international partnership with the UK Open Textbooks project to help make its model available to students across the world.
But providing free textbooks is only part of the organization’s mission. Another major facet involves application of technology through online tools that help students practice and deliver personalized questions to help students fill in the gaps. And the best part for financially strapped students? All of this is free or available at a nominal cost, as low as $10 per course.
Of course, there will likely be concerns over content quality; schools won’t be interested in adopting this if it puts their accreditation at risk, regardless of how cheap it may be. But given that this is based at Rice University – one of the premier schools in the nation – OpenStax seems to carry some level of credibility. Moreover, this new approach should be compatible with colleges seeking to implement active learning techniques. With the right kind of active learning furniture in place, it could be a tremendous boost for any number of colleges and universities, particularly those serving low-income communities.
So the internet, having already disrupted numerous other industries, has now trained its sights on textbook publishers. Starving students across the world are likely thrilled.
(Source: Campus Technology)
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To achieve the custom design for your specific active learning classroom, keep an open mind. When the goal is to create a space for interpersonal and hands-on education, the options are limitless. The key is that the layout must invoke something different. A new style of learning can’t very well occur in the same environment we were conditioned to “sit still and listen”.
While it is easy to make an overhaul project of a complete redesign and restructure of a classroom an expensive one, there are economical ways to go about it. The same results can be achieved with a variety of table set ups, access to screens or whiteboards, and ease of movement in the room.
Though a renovation can typically run from $40,000 for new furniture and technology, the higher end gadgets in many spaces are unnecessary. An active learning outcome is possible on a budget.
Before initiating the process, ask yourself the following questions:
- What’s the vision?
- What’s the focus?
- How flexible?
- What’s the budget?
While the answers to these questions can vary widely depending on the needs of the classroom, the outcome is the same. Focus on letting go of one ideal and the final product will be a perfect fit.
(Source: Campus Technology)