Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Using technology in large classes

Dear All

I went through Using Technology In Teaching Large Classes at http://www.uoregon.edu/~tep/workshops/teachertraining/largeclasses/usingtechnology/usingtechnology.html where I could see so many ideas to use technology to make teaching effective especially in the large class context. I could see that there is a great role of technology in promoting interactions or discussions in the classroom. First, technological tools like WebQuest and technology-integrated projects allow students to work in a small group independently. Second, since such tools have clear expected outcomes, they are focused on the activities or tasks. In order to accomplish the tasks, students have to interact with each other.

The above discussion indicates that introduction of technological tools undoubtedly helps to maintain interaction in large classes. Moreover, technology also helps teachers to focus on the topic and encourage students to ask questions. To give my own example, I used to be tired while shouting for 2 hours to teach a large class. I could hear noises in the classroom. But after I started using power point, I feel comfortable and students pay attention on the point mentioned on the PPT. Overall, the lesson is more organised.

However, it is true that we need to handle technology properly in order to make it more interactive. I argue that technology itself may not be interactive. It largely depends upon how we use it in the classroom. I like 'priming' for large classes. It will motivate students to discuss on the issue of discussion. But in my context, Just-in-Time teaching does not work as there is no facility of computers and internet connections in the classroom. However, this technique involves students in the thinking process before beginning of the class.
One of the important points that Felder (1997) discusses is out-of-class group assignments. In this technique, students are divided into various groups depending on their number. For example, if there are 100 students we can divide them into ten groups. After the group division, we provide students with technology-integrated projects or webquests. We can ask them to work in group and present their report in the classroom. This will create an interactive classroom environment. This will also help teachers to manage large classes.

Moreover, interactive power points with the interactive techniques like Think-Pair-Share and Concept Tests make large classes more interactive. To sum up, if teacher can select an appropriate technology, large classes can be made more interactive. But technology itself is not interactive. It needs proper handling with clear objectives in the classroom.

There are a lot to share. There are tons of articles to read which takes may than a month to finish. Please share your ideas and comment on my post.

Felder, R.M. (1997). Beating the numbers game: Effective teaching in large classes. Available online at
Teaching Large Classes. Available online at
Using Technology In Teaching Large Classes. Available online at http://www.uoregon.edu/~tep/workshops/teachertraining/largeclasses/usingtechnology/usingtechnology.html

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