Caleb CarrApril 13, 2017
Using EdTech to Solve a Psychological Problem
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Have you ever asked yourself how you could engage your students better? How could I get them to be just a little bit more interested? Or even, how do I get them off their damn phones? Well as you know; education technology is specifically designed to increase everything from engagement, to data, to eventually the entire classroom experience. However, how do you do it? That is a question that every educator no matter whether a professor, teacher, administrator, or ed tech guru; the main goal is to get back to the basics and leverage what you know instead of what you don’t know.

Engage the quiet student; they will voice things you have never heard before

There are two types of people in this world; introverted and extroverted. Naturally you are only going to hear from the extroverted people who don’t feel any psychological hesitation to voice their thoughts or opinions. This means that you are truly only engaging 50% at best of your entire classroom; so how do you fix this?

First of all, think of the reasons that a student is hesitant; they don’t want to be noticed, they hate having all the ears/eyes on them, and most importantly they don’t want to be wrong in front of a crowd. In order to engage this type of student you must figure out ways to solve these problems.

One of the ways to solve this problem is simply by sending out surveys to students and require it of them to fill it out. Tell them it is anonymous and they will give you their honest feedback. Or, say you are presenting to the class; ask students to email you questions mid presentation and have your email show a notification on your screen which you could click on and answer that question. It is this phenomenon that many education technologies have aimed to solve.

By engaging this type of student, you will be able to walk away knowing that you gave every student in the classroom a chance to speak up. By matching the psychological profile of your students and solving their direct needs you will ensure that every student feels like they have had the opportunity to walk away with all their questions answered.

There is so much material! How can I disseminate it all effectively?

Whether it is a physiology class with the entire human body to cover or an English class that requires dense understanding of English literature; there can sometimes be too much material to fit into all the time you have with you students. What if there was a way to share the information but also engage the students at the same time?

Honestly, online and hybrid classes are attempting to solve this. By coming together once a week or month to cover all the material in one month’s time frame but only focus on the hard components, you allow your students to engage with a lot more material. However, what if you were in a normal classroom environment? You can approach it like my professors do; put the slides on your Learning Management System and ask if they have any questions at the beginning of your lecture or you can solve it with an innovative solution.

That solution could include segmenting the slides out and instead of sharing a 100 page slide deck, share only 25 and ask students to email you and their peers one question. Each student would then be required to answer at least one of those questions a month and together not only do you have the ability to get much more material out to your students but encourage collaboration among your students.

Together by trying to solve the psychological tendencies that students have and attempting to cover a lot more material in a short amount of time, you will come out with a much more engaged group of students. 

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