An investigation into in-lecture digital tools for engagement: a feasibility study

Michael Detyna, Eleanor J. Dommett


Evidence suggests that lectures are of most value in Higher Education when they are interactive and support active learning. Using novel approaches within lectures can help go beyond the traditional university experience. Educational technologies offer several options for supporting this including: audience response systems, backchannel communication, mirroring and use of video. However, given the range available and the cost of implementation, it is important to ensure that the right technologies are adopted. The aims of this study were to i) investigate the feasibility of small group sessions to evaluate the use of specific technologies for lectures and ii) to better understand the potential uses of different technologies for lectures. Staff and students participated in a novel approach with hands-on interactive demonstration sessions before taking part in a focus group to give their views on a variety of technologies.  

The current study found that these small-scale interactive demonstrations were an effective way to evaluate technologies and that most of the technologies presented could be used to either i) enhance current lecture practice or ii) support new practice, provided they do not overwhelm or distract students. However, they must also be simple for staff and students to use. 


Learning technology; lectures; pedagogy; audience response systems; backchannel communication; mirroring; video

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