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Academic Technology in the Classroom

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There are many academic technology tools that when integrated thoughtfully into your teaching practice can improve the learning experience for students. Here you will find a few selected Stanford tools that may be particularly useful for blended teaching, suggested teaching strategies, and information on how to get support.

Poll Everywhere

Poll Everywhere is a live polling tool that can be used in many ways, such as comprehension checks, low-stakes assessments, anonymous feedback, question-and-answer sessions, ice-breakers, metacognitive reflection, and more. Poll Everywhere can help to engage learners with multiple modes of expression, allow for increased and more equitable participation, and more efficiently track that participation.

Exit tickets with Poll Everywhere

Many instructors have noted that “exit tickets” have been a successful strategy during remote learning. In this activity, students are asked to write a short response to a prompt at the end of each session as they are exiting the class. This strategy is equally valuable during in-person instruction. For example, you might use a metacognitive prompt such as, “Summarize what you learned in today’s session. What questions remain unanswered? What will you do to reinforce your learning?” Poll Everywhere is a very useful tool for facilitating and organizing exit ticket responses. 

Google workspace tools

Google workspace tools such as Google Documents, Slides, Sites, and Jamboard are excellent tools for collaboration and co-authoring. Learning activities and pedagogies enhanced by this technology could include collaborative writing, brainstorming, peer review, and group projects. Google Drive makes organizing and sharing files easy as well.

Panopto

Panopto is a video capture, delivery, and content management tool that provides teaching teams greater control over their content. Panopto is integrated and available to any teaching team in Canvas. (Graduate School of Business faculty should contact the Teaching and Learning Hub for Panopto alternatives.) 

With Panopto you can pre-record and edit lectures, upload existing video or audio, create in-video quizzing, set videos to appear on a publishing schedule, and create text-based discussions centered on the video.  

Flip your teaching with Panopto

“Flipped” teaching is a specific variety of blended instruction in which traditionally in-class activities (especially lectures) are done as homework, while traditional homework activities (like working through practice exercises) are done in class. All with Panopto, you can record, edit, and organize your lectures, embed quiz questions and discussion prompts, then track and grade views and participation, freeing up in-class time for learning activities that leverage social interaction.

Slack

Slack is a platform for individuals and groups to chat online, organize conversations, and share links and media synchronously or asynchronously. Slack is often used asynchronously outside of the classroom, but with recent integrations of Slack within Canvas, it can be useful as a live backchannel chat during in-class sessions. 

Having a backchannel for students to connect with each other, ask questions, and share resources during an in-person session can be beneficial, as many instructors have discovered during remote teaching with Zoom's chat feature. Simultaneously monitoring a Slack channel while facilitating learning in the classroom may be overwhelming for some. We recommend assigning a member of the teaching team to monitor Slack in the classroom.

iPads and Apple Pencil

The iPad's utility for natural digital handwriting and whiteboarding also applies to in-person teaching. The iPad can be connected to most classroom monitors and projectors and has several advantages over a physical whiteboard in the classroom. Content on a digital whiteboard can be easily saved, recorded, and shared. With an iPad, you can also easily annotate digital content, such as images, presentation slides, and so on. Depending on the whiteboarding software solution you use, multiple users can draw on the whiteboard together synchronously.

The iPad for Teaching and Learning program has iPads, Apple Pencils, and a variety of accessories and peripherals (such as mice, keyboards, adaptors, and more) available for loan. Program staff can also guide you through the process of integrating an iPad into your teaching.

Student access to technology

Many of the tools mentioned above require students to have computers or mobile devices available in the classroom. However, be understanding that not all students have computers and mobile devices readily available. Forgetting to charge a battery or forgetting a device at home can happen at any time. Support your students by directing them to campus resources, and offering alternatives or assistance as needed. 

Laptops and tablets are available for students to borrow from the Lathrop Learning Hub for a quarter-long loan. 

You might also have a contingency plan for unexpected situations. For example, an alternative for Poll Everywhere exit tickets would be to have index cards and pens available for submitting a response. Or ask if there are any students willing to share their devices or submit responses for other students.

Academic technology consultations

A good place to start in exploring how technology can support your teaching is CTL’s Academic Technology Solutions Lab (ATSL), where experts trained in pedagogy can help you discover, examine, and troubleshoot solutions to further your teaching. ATSL can also refer you to the best campus service providers for your situation.

If you are from the Graduate School of Business, Education, or School of Medicine, there are dedicated academic technology experts that can help you:

Learn more