I’m currently at my first ASCILITE conference in Singapore. This morning I’ve been to a group of three sessions, all of which contained some element of discussion on the use of automated response systems in large lectures. Personally, I think that these gadgets have a great potential to facilitate interaction in lectures, but they just seem to be used in ways that reinforce the transmission model rather than truely supporting innovation. For example, in one case they were used to measure student ‘understanding’ of a topic just covered, with no plan for revising the material based on the result.
I would be interested so see some really creative uses of these devices, and I think that Ron Oliver might have been getting there when he talked about using the automated response systems by small groups in lectures, albeit be necessity rather than design. I think we need to be thinking beyond multiple choice and looking at learning designs where student responses can actually impact on the session design.
I would be very keen to see a project specifically on the use of automated response systems in education, not least because the acronym would make me laugh.