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What Tech Innovation Would You Like in the Classroom?

October 15, 2013 | Telepresence Options

the experts

Story and images by The Wall Street Journal

You often hear comments about how learning--and teaching--would be enhanced with the right technology.

With this idea in mind, we asked The Experts:�What technological innovation would you like to see in the classroom?

This discussion relates to a recent Journal Report article on�what college will be like in 10 yearsand formed the basis of a discussion on The Experts blog on Oct. 11.

Give Me Better Feedback Tools for the Classroom

LEE NEWMAN:�One innovation of great importance would be the use of technology to facilitate feedback. The research findings are unequivocal: Immediate and specific feedback is among the most critical ingredients in the learning process--and yet this type of feedback is still so rare, even in top educational institutions. The economics of education exerts a quite visible hand on both the number of students per teacher as well as how much teachers are paid. Ultimately, these two economic forces limit both the quantity and quality of feedback that students receive. This needs to change, and technology holds great promise for making this change happen.

Already, in our classrooms we are using "clicker" tools that allow students to respond in real time to multiple-choice questions posed by teachers. This technology is simple, engaging and effective. At IE University, I also have access to interactive, multimedia cases and tools in which students make decisions, get immediate results, and can rethink and adapt as they work toward an objective. This "gamification" of learning is one interesting way to augment the feedback provided to students, and I would like to see it develop to incorporate even richer virtual learning environments as well as expand to multiperson environments in which many students participate simultaneously and learn not only from the tool, but from each other. While there is an upfront cost to develop these tools, they provide more feedback in a way that can be cost neutral in terms of student-teacher ratios and teacher compensation.

In addition to being specific and immediate, feedback from multiple perspectives is also important. I would like to see the development of more advanced student-to-student and teacher-to-student tools that provide students with structured feedback when they give presentations, submit reports, conduct in-class exercises and work in teams. Technology can facilitate the capture and sharing of text, audio and video. And by carefully structuring the process by which students provide feedback to each other, the effort required to give the feedback is greatly reduced and students learn best practices in how feedback ought to be given.

Do you agree? Perhaps technology will tell...

Lee Newman (@NewmanLee) is dean of social and behavioral sciences at IE University and dean of innovation and behavior at IE Business School in Madrid. His work focuses on applying behavioral science to business and leadership.

Classroom Telepresence Needs Improvement

ROSABETH MOSS KANTER:�At Harvard Business School, we are fortunate to have tech-rich classrooms with videoconference capabilities, digital polling and much more. But not enough. I would like to have multiple telepresence screens to run discussions with people in many locations. We're moving toward that.

Rosabeth Moss Kanter (@RosabethKanter) holds the Ernest L. Arbuckle professorship at Harvard Business School, where she specializes in strategy, innovation and leadership for change.

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