Classroom confusion measured in real-time

Nieuws | de redactie
9 mei 2012 | A new app lets teachers track whether students understand lecture presentations or not. Instead of using end-of-the-year evaluations, real-time data is produced. This would be especially useful in large lecture halls, its inventor argues.

Technology plays an ever bigger role insideand outside classrooms. Algorithms have been particularlysuccessful as anti-plagiarism and anti-anti plagiarism tools. Meanwhile, multinational innovatorslike Apple and Google redefine education by transforming text booksinto learning modules or by creating social mediaenhanced study environments.

One of the more recent teaching innovations isthe app “Understoodit” which allows lecturers to trackclassroom confusion in real-time. Instead of giving feedback whenall classes have finished, students can vote via smartphones,tablets and laptops during the lecture whether they understood thematerial or not.

Real data from largeclassrooms

Liam Kaufman who created the app argues thatthis is especially useful when classes are taught in big lecturehalls. “It’s anonymous, so it lets students communicate whetherthey’re getting the lecture or not, because once a class has 60 or70 students, hardly anyone raises their hand. It’s also helpful forstudents who don’t speak English as a first language, and it worksthrough the browser on your iPhone, laptop or tablet so there’s nocost.”

Teachers have already picked up on the service with firstexperiments starting at Harvard, Stanford and co. A teacher at DukeUniversity describes his experience: “I stand for more than an hourin front of a class delivering information, but usually the firstsign there’s a problem is when a trail of students follows me afterclass with questions. How much better would it be for me to knowright at the time? I try to study faces looking for quizzicallooks. So to get real data would be great. I’m a psychologist, nota psychic.”

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