How technology helps teachers to reach struggling students

By Julian Direen, VP Customer Development

When Loop was getting started, I was asked to present to a group of 23 visitors to our office, keen to learn about start-ups and factors that contribute to the success of these organisations. To start, I opted to embark on a little experiment. I simulated a classroom environment as a lighthearted way to introduce the purpose and function of Loop, highlighting the power of technology to receive significantly higher response rates than traditional feedback systems. 

Student raising hand

The group comprised fellow co-workers, co-working space operators, state and local government officials and a number of overseas delegates for whom English was not the first language.

It would be fair to say a mix of demographics and experience paired with local and overseas attendees represented a high level of diversity - very much a trait of the modern student cohort within many tertiary institutions. I opened the session by setting the scene:

“Imagine for a moment this is a classroom or learning environment. I am your teacher and you are the students,” I asked.

“Now imagine I asked you this question to reflect on your learning here today - What is one thing that you are struggling to understand at the moment?”

After a brief pause I then asked, by show of hands:

“Who would be prepared to answer this question for me now in front of your peers?”

SuniTAFE-casestudy-chart-1

 

Only 3 out of 23 (13%) raised their hands.

 

 

“Who would be prepared to answer this question if you could discuss your answer with me one on one?”

SuniTAFE-casestudy-chart-2

 

Four more people raised their hands still leaving 70% of our ‘students’ still not comfortable in responding to this question.

 

I asked another:

“If I offered you the choice to answer this question via your device with your identity shown to me - who would be prepared to answer this question for me?”

SuniTAFE-casestudy-chart-3

 

This by far netted the biggest response from our group with 10 of 23 (43%) raising their hands.

 

 

However, six other participants abstained from responding.

Addressing those “Students” - “If I then offered the option to respond via your device, anonymously - would you be 

prepared to answer this question for me?”

SuniTAFE-casestudy-chart-4

 

The final 6 of our 23 (26%) then raised their hands (albeit uncomfortably) to volunteer a response.

 

 

It was an interesting simulation of the challenge many teachers now confront in their classrooms on a daily basis - how do I gather critical information from all my students around areas where they may be reluctant to speak up?

In the presentation scenario, I asked people who are leaders in their respective fields and are confident in their knowledge and career. For students, new to study, greater levels of uncertainty may contribute to ‘not feeling safe’ in responding to their teacher.

Different cultural backgrounds may also impact a student’s confidence to speak up.

Loop observes, on average, 38% of student responses across our platform are being volunteered anonymously - responses which may never come if asked before a group session where others may see one’s response.

Even so, technology was able to bridge the gap between zero response and reaching all participants effectively.

It also poses an interesting challenge to teachers: how do I feed back to those students who need learning assistance if I don’t know who they are? 

Smart technology that provides choice and comfort can assist here. It provides a significant aid in helping teachers to reach and communicate with those students who:

  • Do not feel confident to speak-up in a class context
  • Do not feel confident to approach a teacher in person for cultural or other reasons
  • Feel anxiety or fear negative consequences by showing others they are struggling with their learning

Smart technology can help stop students struggling in silence and facilitate a broader understanding. To find out more, please get in touch with the team at Loop.

Share: