Implementing new technology in your course comes with an inevitable learning curve. Not only does it mean you'll have to familiarize yourself with new software, but your students will too. Although this can feel intimidating, there are ways to ensure that you and your students have a smooth and successful experience.
We connected with a few dozen of our most successful instructors using Flipd to find out how they did it. Some of these instructors are managing hundreds of students at once, while others have as few as fifteen students in their class — but across all cases, over 90% of their students had enrolled in Flipd, and some classes were even over-subscribed. Of all the instructors we spoke with, each were using Flipd for measuring both engagement and attendance, and had attendance rates significantly higher than the average. Here are some tips and recommendations these rockstars shared with us.
Articulate the Benefits and the "Why"
Flipd is asking students to disconnect from their phones for the duration of your lecture. To them, this might be a huge request — it's possible they've never been asked to unplug before, let alone for an hour or two.
That's why it's important that you take the time to articulate why you're asking them to do this. It will give your students a more compelling reason to invest in Flipd and take the time to learn how to use it. Without understanding why, students may be left wondering, What's the point of this? — and end up a lot less likely to participate.
Here are some ways our instructors have articulated the Why:
- Use research to explain how grades are negatively affected by cell phone use and distractions in class
- Share how Flipd can have a positive impact on their learning
- Describe how focus and attention are learned skills, and speak from the framework of career success
- Talk about the humanizing experience of removing cell phones from the classroom, and how it can foster more collaboration between students
- Explain how it's respectful to you, and everyone in the class, when we're all equally engaged and participating
- Show students this Simon Sinek video on millennials in the workforce
Instructors who articulated the Why early on also repeated it multiple times throughout the semester. Either in lecture or by email, these instructors reiterated the importance of using Flipd, and how it could positively impact their final grades. This was especially true for those who had recently graded midterms and wanted to provide an extra opportunity for their students to succeed.
Make it a Course Requirement
When students enter the workforce, they should be prepared to face the non-negotiable expectations of their employers — like showing up, participating, sharing ideas, and asking for help. These are basic social skills that can be learned from setting higher expectations of your students.
"We now have a responsibility to make up the shortfall, and help this amazing, idealistic, fantastic generation build their confidence, learn patience, learn social skills, and find a better balance between life and technology, because quite frankly it’s the right thing to do."
— Simon Sinek, on millennials in the workforce
Making attendance and participation a mandatory part of your classroom experience will help your students. Whether they like it or not, a little tough love will go a long way — and those who push back may stand to gain the greatest benefit.
Here are some ways our instructors have successfully made Flipd a course requirement:
- Add Flipd to your syllabus and include it as an extra credit
- Explain that the price is reasonable — the cost of two coffees, as one puts it — and much cheaper than traditional student response systems
- Send an email to your students reminding them to use Flipd and show how their progress has been so far, especially after midterms
- Explain how college is expensive, and not being present in class will end up wasting their money
Use all the Features
The more you integrate a new technology into your course, the more your students will use it — full stop. This rings true for all of the instructors we spoke with that are using the full Flipd platform and its blend of features, such as engagement tracking, attendance, pop quizzes, and dashboard analytics.
Here's what some of our instructors had to say after using Flipd for attendance and engagement:
- It's reduced lateness — I used to have students turning up to my lectures 5-30 minutes late, and that's been eradicated.
- Students are more engaged — I can already tell they're doing better and are actually looking up at me.
- There's more note-taking — I notice my students are actually looking up at me and taking paper notes.
- Students are participating — I ask questions and now I get answers, which is a big change from before.
- There's an opportunity to be human — My students are showing up ten minutes before class, and want to talk with me and each other.
Perhaps most important, confidence is key. As their teacher, use this opportunity to share some hard truths about learning — that it can be a challenging, long, but worthwhile journey. For many students, this may be the first time in their lives they've been faced with a learning environment as uniquely challenging as the college classroom, where the propensity to disengage and not participate is suddenly very high.
They're standing at the foot of a mountain and they have this abstract concept called impact that they want to have on the world, which is the summit. What they don’t see is the mountain. I don’t care if you go up the mountain quickly or slowly — there’s still a mountain. And so what this young generation needs to learn is patience.
— Simon Sinek, on millennials in the workforce
When you share your experiences with them, especially what you know about success and learning, those who are resistant to change may actually benefit from it the most. With a confident and clearly laid out roadmap of their path to succeed in your course and beyond, you're giving your students the greatest opportunity to actually get there.
Implementing Flipd in your classroom is a great opportunity to lay out your roadmap to success. Plus, our team will help you integrate Flipd into your course in a seamless way. If this is something you're interested in, find out more here. This post was written by Alanna Harvey, co-founder of Flipd.