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May 2015 | Volume 72 | Number 8
Teaching with Mobile Tech
Jeffrey P. Carpenter
Technology can open up classroom discussions, sparking new levels of student participation and engagement.
Early in my teaching career, I felt that whole-class conversations in my high school courses were fairly effective. A few extroverted or extra-motivated students could be counted on to contribute, and discussions would pass by pleasantly enough. A decent quantity and quality of ideas were shared, and awkward silences were rare.
Eventually, though, I began to realize that only a small percentage of my students were actively participating. A handful of individuals kept the discussions moving, allowing the majority to disengage. As long as the non-contributors did not visibly misbehave, a détente was established. Fortunately, teachers and students today have access to mobile technologies that can disrupt such patterns of limited student participation.
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