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“Voting tools activate our students” – Utz Weitzel

Utz Weitzel (U.S.E.) has incorporated the online voting tool Shakespeak in his lectures for some time now. The voting tool helps Utz to actively engage his students and to monitor whether they have sufficiently mastered the theory or need further instruction. Tailor-made education indeed. Utz likes to share his experiences here. 

Some colleagues try to ban laptops, mobile phones and tablets form their lectures. I prefer to encourage students to bring them long and actively use them. The online devices further their engagement in the larger lectures.

Activating students by engaging them
Every 20 to 25 minutes, I arrange a mobile phone vote about the problems we are discussing. This encourages students to actively think about the issues, discuss them with their neighbours and reflect on what they have learnt. It also provides a short break ensuring their increased concentration when we continue with the lecture.

Tailor-made lectures
The outcomes of the voting exercises provide me with the opportunity to monitor whether they have sufficiently mastered the theory. I can decide to proceed more quickly or rather first provide further explanation. Even in courses I have been teaching for five years now, the elements they do or do not understand yet often surprise me.

Time investment
A voting tool does not require a lot of time investment. Shakespeak is a PowerPoint plug-in and very user-friendly. PowerPoint provides an additional page with four buttons. Within minutes you will understand how this works.

During the lectures themselves, incorporating Shakespeak takes a few additional minutes. I always ask one or two questions every 20 minutes. So in total I spend about 15 minutes per lecture on Shakespeak.

What do students think?
The students are very positive and 95% joins in.

(Check the video above to hear one of Utz’s students about the introduction of voting tools in lectures.)

How do you regard the future of IT in teaching?

In the future I expect there will be more than one teaching model. As there are already. In some  courses, IT will not have much added value. I imagine that we will see more blended forms of teaching and a mix of online and offline courses.

do it yourself


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