Another dot in the blogosphere?

Video case for a learner response system

Posted on: May 5, 2016

Thanks to a tweet from TNW, I found this YouTube video.

Video source

The video should be used as a case study for instructor professional development on student response systems or backchannels because it:

  • revealed what can happen in an authentic classroom or lecture hall
  • can prompt “What if…?” questions and subsequent answers
  • provided examples of an instructor’s unflappable response

The video started with an instructor asking an open-ended question and providing students with an opportunity to share short answers. Without establishing any ground rules, chaos seemed to ensue right after the third response.

While some students tried to provide academic answers, the flow of mischievous answers encouraged others to escalate the playfulness.

I would wager that many instructors would shudder at the video. Some might even break out into a cold sweat.

But it is important to realise this: If you use technology to give student voice, you are going to get it. It might be unfiltered, uncensored, and honest. And that is not a bad thing.

The students were likely to appreciate the opportunity to be involved, and because of the emotions they experienced, are more likely to remember the learning opportunity.

The instructor did an excellent job of:

  • not immediately closing down the feedback system
  • taking the responses and laughter in his stride
  • skilfully steering the conversation back to the topic

Other instructors, be they novices or veterans, could learn from the video and share their thoughts. If they do, they could learn a thing or two on how to create more interactive sessions with students.

If they wish to open up their classrooms to student voice, there must be ongoing conversations, not monologues. Trying once and giving in to fear is shutting everyone up.

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