To empower students, bring interactive learning tools into the classroom

The past five years have seen a tremendous boom in education technology (“ed-tech”) startups that are pushing the boundaries of online and hybrid content delivery and learning experiences.

Unsurprisingly, investments in education technology have more than quadrupled from the time I founded my first edtech startup in 1998.

The result has been the emergence of a new teaching model, one that shifts content delivery beyond the walls of the classroom. We’re seeing big advances in adaptive learning platforms from established players like Knewton and upstarts like Brainscape and Cerego; YouTube and Sal Kahn are looking for ways to produce more instructional videos; and online course builders like Udacity, Coursera, and Peer2Peer University are democratizing instruction by way of Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs).

The development of online, offline and hybrid learning environments, along with the spread of the flipped-classroom model, all fueled by the tremendous growth in ed-tech dedicated capital forces us to reevaluate student and instructor interactions when they are physically in the classroom.

The question now is: Considering all the recent advancements that push learning outside classrooms, what new innovations are being developed to help teachers engage students from within classrooms?

While the flipped-classroom has its advantages, it requires knowledge of what students have learned or accomplished in their time outside of class.
A common solution is to give a quick poll or quiz at the beginning of class to focus students’ attention on the material at hand and provide teachers with a sense of what the class understands, instantly, before in-class activity begins.
Devices take this one step further. Student Response Systems encourage engagement and provide instant feedback about learning and understanding. Instructors can ask a question at any time during a presentation or activity and students now have the ability to key in their response. Results can then quickly be displayed immediately to the instructor or the entire class.