How to make class more interactive with edtech for higher education

Friday, February 24, 2017 09:50

Katherine Hockley by Katherine Hockley

It is estimated that $252 billion (£200 billion) will be spent by colleges and universities on campus edtech by 2020. It is estimated that on average, a student has 5 digital devices, so to keep up with students’ expectations, there needs to be a digital element included in how students are taught.  

Read more: Digital transformation in higher education – examples from now and the future 

We’ve compiled a list of quick and simple methods that won't break the bank and that will make your institution more interactive right now. 

Live polling

Meetoo is an app that incorporates live polling into things like PowerPoint slides. This encourages real time interaction with a subject and allows quieter students to express opinions in a way more suited to them.  

Gamification of tasks

Gamification is a way of making students more actively engaged because it gives them rewards in a way that they recognise. For example, earning badges or points by swiping in on time and attending each lecture can increase motivation.

Perhaps even the top ‘players’ at the end of a course earn a prize. An app in America, which was aimed at low-income students, used the gamification method to increase engagement, rewarding them with vouchers and experiences for participating in tasks and challenges. Some examples have been very successful at increasing engagement, such as The University of Huddersfield Library's online game Lemontree.


Recording lectures and putting them online is great for students who are ill or long-distance learners, but can also be used in another way.

By creating a screencast of a certain task (for example, a screen cast on how to build a HTML website), it allows students to go at their own pace and replay parts they struggle with. This is easier to do than it sounds, and can even be done by simply adding an extension into your Google Chrome browser. It also gives them the opportunity to go back and practice, as well as having a reference point for it in the future. 

They can also be re-used year after year, so this a great example of edtech for higher education saving time and resources. 

READ MORE: Is Snapchat underutilised as an engagement tool in higher education?

Live Video

Inviting an expert or even a different faculty member to explain a certain subject to your class will add an extra element of engagement. Not only are they hearing from someone different with special knowledge, they will also have the opportunity to get involved in a live Q&A.

Digital collaboration - Slack

Lecturers can set tasks where collaboration is done on apps like Slack or on Moodle forums. This gives students the freedom to contribute when the time suits them, whilst not having to worry about booking a room or spending time travelling somewhere for them all to meet. For example, they can set a time they’re all free and make sure they’re all online to discuss the project and share their documents, ideas and give live feedback without having to be face to face.


Using interactive documents

On apps like OneNote, you are able to have several users edit a document at the same time. Instead of having groups discuss an issue and tell the lecturer and the rest of the class what they came up with in a discussion, they can add their ideas into a live document that can be seen on a projector. This takes the pressure off of those who are shy and would be less willing to speak up.

READ MORE: The pros and cons of edtech in higher education

Learn more about our digital transformation  in higher education conference

Posted in Higher Education, IT and Digital