As educational instructors, one of the many ways we garner feedback from the class is through asking questions between segments of the lesson. I must admit, there were times when I felt pressured when nobody raised their hand to contribute an answer. Could it be that my students have not learnt anything from the three-hour lecture I just gave? This practice for me has often been an ineffective gauge of students’ understanding, even if there were students who raised their hand to proffer an answer. Firstly, students who were quick thinkers and fully engaged with the class would often participate in answering questions and respond actively. On the downside, their willingness to answer might lead to the end of the thought process for other students who needed more time to come to a conclusion for themselves. It might have also given me, the instructor, an illusion that the entire class had fully understood the concepts I was trying to convey during the lesson.
Having students use their smartphones in class to assess their own understanding of concepts has been very important to me. I’ve had students taking selfies, face-timing their friends, and scrolling through social media during lessons (to name a few). How much better would it be for me to be in control of what they see on their smartphones for the sake of learning!