Friday, 3 February 2017


My move to full time HE last year caused a blip in my use of technology in the classroom. I had a few wobbles and wasn't sure if it was appropriate to use all those tools in my new setting.

I've recovered from those feelings now and am beginning to build these activities up again, and in some ways, I've learnt from that blip. Returning to using technology after a brief gap has made me realise just how useful these tools can be.

I started with a firm favourite of mine - Poll Everywhere - because I am confident in its use and it's familiar territory for me, something which was reassuring when introducing it in a new setting. I set up a few recap questions, and the results were really useful for formative assessment.

I dabbled with Kahoot, but the class I was with found it just too tempting to use inappropriate names, so I'll probably leave that for a while.

I tried Plickers for the first time. I needed all 63 cards available for this particular class, so giving them out was a bit of a headache - I will need to work on that. However, using the cards was incredibly easy, didn't rely on the students having devices to take part, and collecting the results was pretty instant and very informative.  If I can just work out the best way to distribute the cards I can see this becoming a regular feature.

Finally, I've had a go with Socrative. This was also a really effective tool for checking that learning had taken place and I will definitely use this again.

What I've enjoyed most about all of these tools is that I'm getting something back from the learners. Lecturing in HE is a different beast to FE - partly because the classes are considerably larger and also because I generally tend to see less of the students overall, so being able to review the results of these 'fun' activities after the students have left is really valuable and means I can revisit those topics they didn't quite grasp. It also means that students are much more engaged because they actively have to respond, and whilst I haven't specifically asked for feedback from them on whether they enjoy doing these activities, there is no doubt that they brighten up and seem keen to do their best - all of which has got to be better than falling asleep staring at PowerPoint slides.

I'm looking forward to expanding my use of technology in my new role - I know that done right it will be a great addition to the learning environment.