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Random Thoughts on Instructional Design

General Session – Using Technology to Engage Students

Speaker: Eric Mazur

I wish I could say that this was a moving and inspiring session, but honestly I can’t. The presenter spoke of his introduction of clickers into his teaching practice between 1985 and 1991 as a way to engage the students in a large lecture class. His research is well documented but clickers are certainly not an emerging technology.  He did engage the audience in the use of clickers, which surprisingly many in the audience had never used, but I cannot say that his use of the clickers in the session was extremely effective except to engage the audience in conversations with each other.

His conclusions that active engagement greatly improves learning gains and that technology helps enable new modes of learning are relatively well known concepts that I believe could be demonstrated by a technology other than clickers. I will say that I wouldn’t mind getting him or another clicker guru to present to faculty at Dartmouth, but I am wondering if clickers are really a passé technology when programs like Twitter and Poll Everywhere could be used on laptops and/or cell phones (a technology which many if not most students already own). Others in attendance at the conference may feel differently about Mazur’s presentation. I’m interested in hearing their thoughts.

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This entry was posted on February 14, 2011 by in ELI 2011.

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