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How I Reached My Students through Their Smartphones

Teaching Managerial Accounting to students who never think of dealing with it in their careers is a challenging task. I noticed that many students learn for the sake of passing an exam, sometimes without even fully comprehending the subject matter. What’s worse, sometimes they just learn the formulas and terms by heart without shaping ideas around the real-time application of those cases.

students use swift polling

Having a few years of teaching experience, I started using all of the tips and tricks that I learned to make classes a fun and productive experience for my students.

 

I started with assigning group tasks to my students and giving out prizes for the best and most insightful performance. Then I moved on to gamification and debates during the classes. All of these activities brought a very short-term success and excitement to my students. I was not happy with that.

 

I decided to crowdsource this task and hear my students’ opinions about what was not working well, what they needed and when they needed it.

 

To make this process more organized and productive, I started searching the web for online Q&A and polling tools. I came across Swift Polling. I liked getting the responses in real time, having nice and interactive colors for the presentation page, and not being charged for up to 50 responses. I crossed my fingers and took the lead.

 

I created several questions like these:

  • “How comfortable are you with the course load?”
  • “How effective do you find homework assignments?”
  • “Do you need more real-life applications of the theories?”
  • “What would you change in the teaching methods of this course that would ease your learning process?”

 

During the class, when I informed my students that we were going to have a class evaluation, I was surprised to see how excited they became. They took out their phones and started eagerly texting their responses. The results were updating on the screen and they impatiently waited to see the final consensus. To my final question regarding the complaints and suggestions, they responded that online polls like that were fun and they would like to have more such questions throughout the course.

 

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That was my “Ah-ha!” moment. I braced myself and started creating quiz-like questions for each class thereafter. The questions related to the topic I was explaining and then after each major chunk of information, I was giving them an online quiz. They were solving the problems or lingering upon the theoretical/practical questions and submitting their final responses. When the final results appeared on the screen, the students who answered incorrectly were trying to understand the logic of the right questions. This enabled me to make sure that everyone clearly understood the topic and was ready to move on with the course material. Moreover, as I could see the number of responses collected per poll, I was amazed that all of the students were participating and having a stake in the learning process.

text-polling-via-smartphones-during-classes

 

I was very hopeful that the results I was seeing in class would pay off in the long run. To check how effective the method was I started looking into several metrics over the semester: class attendance, quiz grades and exam grades.

 

The results were phenomenal! The class attendance increased to 95 percent from 60 percent, the average quiz grade went from 70/100 to 88/100, and the mean exam grades ascended from 75/100 to 93/100.

 

Having gone through all of these practices, I learned some major lessons from my students and my experience.

 

Students are attached to their smartphones and teachers should not ban their use during class but should find a smart solution to use those gadgets. Digital formative assessment tools such as live polls and online Q&As are those smart ways that students can actually use to participate in the class.

 

On the other hand, it is very crucial to make sure that each piece of the content we deliver to students is clear and set in their brains, and then move on, instead of compiling all of the questions and waiting till that single revision class before the exams.

 

Students have needs and our major task is to identify those needs and find multifaceted solutions to enhance their learning and educate a change-making generation.

 

Written by Ofelya Gyozalyan, TA of Managerial Accounting, American University of Armenia

 



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