The LectureTools Blog

A Supplement of a LectureTools Testimony

Posted by Chelsea Jenkins on Tue, October 30, 2012

LectureTools: An engaging presentation tool to use in the classroom

Jim Barbour, associate professor of economics, uses LectureTools in his introductory-level courses.

Jim Barbour, chair of the economics department and associate professor of economics, uses LectureTools in his introductory-level courses.

 

While searching for an alternative to clickers to use in his classes, Jim Barbour, chair of the economics department and associate professor of economics, stumbled upon LectureTools.

Run by a five-person team in Ann Arbor, Mich.,LectureTools is an engaging, web-based program that allows instructors to create interactive presentations.

“I was looking for something that was more robust,” Barbour said. “Think of [LectureTools] as a combination of clickers, Facebook and Twitter all rolled into one.”

Special Features

By uploading preexisting PowerPoint presentations to LectureTools, instructors can enhance classroom materials by incorporating multiple-choice, short-answer or ordering questions, as well as images and videos onto slides. Students can access presentations on their own devices by logging in to the program.

“All of this is like a clicker on steroids,” Barbour said. “But now, you don’t have to keep track of the clickers, and you don’t have to charge them up.”

Instructors can incorporate multiple-choice, short-answer or ordering questions, as well as images and videos onto slides.

Instructors can enhace classroom materials by incorpoarting multiple-choice, short-answer or ordering questions, as well as images and videos onto slides.

 

LectureTools is free for instructors, Barbour said, while students must pay a flat $15 fee at the beginning of the semester.

LectureTools works best on laptops, tablets and smartphones, Barbour said, though students can still participate if he or she has a mobile phone with texting capabilities.

Barbour said out of the seventy-odd students he has had in his LectureTools-based classes, only one did not have a laptop, tablet, smartphone or phone with texting capabilities. Because of this, Barbour is lending his Kindle to the student.

“There are places [students can] checkout [laptops] from the school, so I’ve run into that once out of 74 students,” Barbour said. “It’s probably going to be a problem less and less as we go forward.”

Students can control the view of their individual screens, take notes on slides, mark slides as confusing, bookmark slides to review later and direct questions to instructors by typing inquiries into a comment box.

 Students can control the view of their individual screens, take notes on slides, mark slides as confusing, bookmark slides to review later and direct questions to instructors by typing inquiries into a comment box.

 

While logged in to LectureTools, students can control the view of their individual screens. Students can take notes on the slides, and because the program is web-based, students’ notes are saved online and can be accessed later.

Freshman Michelle Rich, a student in Barbour’s introductory-level economics class, said she likes the flexibility of LectureTools in that it allows her to control what slide is displayed on her screen. She said she likes the interactivity of the technology too, because it helps her to better learn the material.

“LectureTools is helpful, but I am still adapting to this new way of learning,” she said. “I really like how my professor asks us questions through LectureTools because it tests us while we’re learning.”

Students can mark presentation slides as confusing, and they can bookmark slides to review later. Further, students can direct questions to instructors by typing them into a comment box, and professors receive those inquiries instantly.

“It’s another way for me to communicate with the class, and that’s really what I’m interested in because at the core, we are storytelling creatures,” Barbour said. “This allows me to tailor the story as I go to match what the class seems to need. Any good instructor always does that.”

LectureTools records all student activity and converts the data into a report, which is sent to an instructor approximately 20 minutes after class is over.

Students in Barbour's economics class collaborate on a short-answer question.

 Students in Barbour's introductory-level economics class collaborate on a short-answer question.

By Sam Parker 

 

 

To use LectureTools and start increasing engagement in  YOUR classroom click here:

 

 

Topics: Mobile Devices for Education, classroom engagement strategies, emerging technologies in education, interactive classroom technology, enhance student engagement, Teaching with Technology, Student-Instructor Interaction, Engaging Students in the Classroom, Large Class, Classroom Response Systems, Educational Technology, instructor interaction, student engagement, student engagement strategies, Student Response Systems, Student Participation, educational networking, Enriching Scholarship Conference, Laptops in Education, Learning Outcomes, The Flipped Classroom

Pros and Cons of iPads in the Classroom

Posted by Jason Aubrey on Tue, June 26, 2012

 

iPad Image resized 600

 

Since it debuted in 2010 the iPad has taken the world by storm. Tablets and e-readers have flooded the market from every manufacturer possible. People are regularly trading their laptops for the sleeker version of the tablet. Businesses are using them for presentations, meetings, and events. Basically, the iPad is saturating every market possible. So it should come as no surprise that it’s becoming a regular debate as to if iPads should be offered in classrooms or not. However there has been some controversy surrounding implementing iPads in classrooms, with some heavy pros and cons weighing on each side.

PROS

1. Eliminates the need for textbooks – Issuing students iPads at the beginning of the year virtually eliminates the need for textbooks in the classroom because of the ability to download books to the device. This means less money spent on books that are outdated within a few years, and less weight for students to lug back and forth from class to class and home and back every day. Plus, it’s easier for kids to highlight important information within the text and keep track of notes in the margins of pages. 

2. Organization – This all but eliminates the “dog ate my homework” excuse and is a viable solution for the chronically disorganized. Students’ notes are all in one place, homework can be uploaded into virtual dropboxes, and each subject can be confined into an individual desktop folder. 

3. Teaches kids early on about technology – Like it or not, technology is taking over the way we do everything, from personal interactions to business ones. The sooner kids learn how to not only be comfortable with using technology, but also be extremely proficient in it, the more it’s going to help them succeed later on in life. 

4. It allows teachers to give lectures in cutting edge ways – Instead of the typical approach to classroom lectures where teachers stand at the front of the classroom and talk for the duration of the class, a practice which tends to leave students less then engaged, iPads in the classroom allow for a much more interactive approach. Through the use of technology like LectureTools teachers and students alike experience in the classroom learning experience in an entirely different, more hands-on approach.

Cons

1. Expensive – Let’s face it, iPads aren’t cheap. Buying an iPad to be issued to every student and teacher would get expensive fast, and then there’s always the worry that a careless student would accidentally break one, or that the inevitable accident would happen leaving the iPad broken and useless and needing to be repaired or replaced. 

2. Potential to be very distracting – Having an iPad at your fingertips all day has the very tempting potential to be extremely distracting, especially if you’re one of the many kids who has some sort of attention disorder. There would have to be some sort of monitoring in place to ensure that students used the iPad solely for school purposes, and even then there are ways around that. 

3. Connectivity – Relying on a device that has to be connected to the internet to get the full functionality out of it is risky, to put it mildly. One network outage can throw off an entire day’s lessons, which is an attractive argument for the standard textbook approach.

It’s plausible, and even probable, that at some point iPads will be the standard in the classrooms. While there are still definite cons to the approach, they aren’t anything that can’t be dealt with, and the pros weigh heavy in favor of the switch to a tablet-based learning experience.

Author Bio

Melanie Slaugh is enthusiastic about the growing prospects and opportunities of various industries and writing articles on various consumer goods and services as a freelance writer. She writes extensively for internet service providers and also topics related to internet service providers in her area for presenting the consumers the information they need to choose the right Internet package for them. She can be reached at slaugh.slaugh907 @ gmail.com.


 

Lecturing with an iPad eBookLearn How to Teach with Your iPad

Students are far less likely to go off-task when you are able to roam the aisles. Download our free eBook and learn how to use your iPad to teach class from anywhere in the room and break free from the podium.

Topics: Mobile Devices for Education, emerging technologies in education, Educational Technology, student engagement, Apple iPad in Education

2011: The Year of Ed Tech

Posted by Erin Klein on Thu, January 26, 2012

students using ipads in the classroom

The year 2012 holds a lot of promise for the field of education technology—but before we take the leap into the future, we should take a moment to reflect on the outstanding accomplishments of the past. It's equally important to emphasize why improvements in education are notable in the first place. Increasing the public's accessibility to educational resources, be they classroom-based or otherwise, is the most effective way to improve the quality of education in the U.S. and lead to a more productive society as a result.

 

The reign of the iPad

According to the New York Times, 2011 saw a growing number of schools begin to integrate use of the iPad into curriculum as a means of improving student understanding and engagement in the classroom. The devices are used for various academic pursuits, including analyzing literature through multimedia, playing trivia-based games in history class, and walking through complex math problems with step-by-step animation. Interactive platforms allow students to take a more hands-on approach to the problems that confront them at school.

 

Adult learning through mobile devices

Even more accessible and convenient than the iPad, mobile devices were also a notable medium for educational breakthroughs in 2011. Many colleges and universities across the country began encouraging adult learning through mobile devices last year taking advantage of the potential of podcasts as a means of broadcasting online lectures and videos through mobile technology

 

Shift in opinion regarding online education

Though the public may not be quick to catch on, over half of college presidents surveyed by the Pew Research Center reported a positive opinion of the value of online education (pdf link). This is compared to just 29 percent of the general public mentioned. Despite a less positive opinion toward the value of online education, its popularity has continued to grow in the past ten years, with 46 percent of graduates reporting to have taken at least one online class during their time spent in college.

 

steve jobsRemembering Steve Jobs

No article discussing the breakthroughs in education technology would be complete without referencing the contributions of Steve Jobs. Although his life was cut short in October of last year, he left an enduring legacy. Jobs was one of the first innovators to advocate the use of computers in the classroom, and his devotion to integrating technology into educational environments was clear with each new device Apple manufactured. The use of laptops, iPads, mobile devices and other technological devices in the classroom can be traced back to the convictions of one man.

 

The Year of Ed Tech

2012 promises to be a year of digital dominance as well, with products like ultrabooks and tablets taking center stage this month. But 2011 was a year that created a platform for bigger and better educational technology to come.

 

Photo credit: Fancy Jantzi


Jesse Langley specializes in writing about education, professional and personal development, and career building. He writes on behalf of Colorado Technical University.

Topics: Mobile Devices for Education, Online Education, Apple, Steve Jobs, Apple iPad in Education