Dumbing down? Reflections on the role of audience response technology in helping students engage with their learning

Cathcart, Abby & Casali, Gian Luca (2008) Dumbing down? Reflections on the role of audience response technology in helping students engage with their learning. In Effective Teaching and Learning Conference : Transitions In : Transitions Out, 30–31 October 2008, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane.

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Audience response technology (ART) has become increasingly popular in universities across the world (MacGeorge et al., 2007, p. 125). Users have claimed that ART is easy to use (ibid); promotes discussion (Brooks & Wood, 2005); and improves student learning (Ward, 2003). This paper will examine the way in which ART was embedded in a large, first year management unit at an Australian university. It will consider the practical and pedagogical implications of engaging with ART and report on both the initial concerns of the academics involved in the project, the feedback from students on the perceived benefits, and the challenges for staff in using the technology. The first part of the paper will review the literature on ART and examine what has been claimed in the name of ART. The second section will outline how and why ART was used by the authors. The final part of the paper presents the initial results from student surveys reflecting on the perceived benefits of ART before offering some practical proposals for academics and institutions considering their use. The paper will conclude that although students find ART simple and interesting to use and beneficial to learning, there remains two key challenges for institutions considering the adoption of ART in large classes. Firstly, ART is viewed with a high degree of scepticism by many academics; criticisms include the belief that ART is turning lectures into game shows, that technology is just a gimmick, and that ART is about entertainment rather than education. Secondly, there are a number of practical implications in relation to purchasing, distributing and maintaining ART in large classes and these implications serve as a significant deterrent for staff.

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ID Code: 19370
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: No
Keywords: Audience Response Technology, Students, Learning, HERN
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > CURRICULUM AND PEDAGOGY (130200) > Economics Business and Management Curriculum and Pedagogy (130203)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Australian Centre for Business Research
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > QUT Business School
Current > Schools > School of Management
Deposited On: 01 Apr 2009 02:10
Last Modified: 23 Aug 2011 23:42

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