Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Faculty Speaker Series: First Fall 2013 Speaker, Dr. Dan Morrison

Peer Instruction with Classroom Response Systems

by Varun Khanna

Pepperdine University's Faculty Speaker Series, Fall 2013 commenced with Dr. Dan Morrison's presentation on Peer Instruction with Classroom Response Systems.

Professors have been using peer instruction with students learning from each other for years. Before the digital revolution professors were already using raising hands or chalk and a blackboard as response systems to quantify classroom polling.

Dr. Morrison, however, makes use of and smart devices/laptops as his tool of choice to measure classroom response in real time.

With several faculty in attendance at The Page Room at the Malibu campus, Dr. Morrison successfully demonstrated how using the right technology can:
1. enhance student engagement.
2. strengthen pedagogical methodology.
3. quantify student response, encouraging peer-to-peer review and deep learning.

The Peer Instruction Model 

Image 1: The Peer Instruction Model (image courtesy: Dan Morrison)


Step A
Dr. Morrison asked the group a question. Attendees had a choice to respond via their smart device or laptop. 

Step B
Attendees sent a text message. The text message field had an assigned number (provided by Dr. Morrison, who got it from followed by their response message.

Step C
Attendees saw the live response either on the web or as in the case of Dr. Morrison's presentation, live in his Powerpoint presentation.

Dr. Morrison suggests that after students respond independently via their smart devices, he can choose three paths based on the response.

Path 1
If most students answer correctly, briefly discuss the question and move onto the next topic.

Path 2
If results are split, have them discuss in pairs and poll again.

Path 3
If most answer incorrectly, backtrack, return to the lecture, and provide extra instructional support.

And the last part of the peer instruction technique, using student classroom response systems, is to lead a classroom wide discussion.

So, what else did we learn today using Dr. Morrison's peer instruction using classroom response systems?

An oak tree uses air (carbon dioxide) and converts it into carbon which contributes to its overall mass.

I did not know that!

Thank you, Dr. Morrison.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


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by Varun Khanna

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