Teacher and tech expert says retention comes easiest with visual understanding

visual-technology-retentionAs teaching moves from ‘sage on the stage’ to ‘guide on the side,’ educators are still mulling over exactly how technology tools can best help guide student learning. The problem is, as faculty is quickly coming to understand, technology for its own sake is not enough.

Nowhere is this more evident than in MOOCs and the current crisis with retention. Plopping a student in front of a video lecture provides a new medium, but a boring lecture will still be a boring lecture on video.

The key to student engagement (and therefore, retention) says one teaching and technology expert, is to use technology to make the information relevant and understandable.

One effective way to do this is with visuals. Specifically, with annotated visual technology.

“Lecture is not enough. The dropout rate in schools is embarrassing,” said Alice Keeler, teacher and technology coach at California State University at Fresno. “Lecture has been a way to transmit information, however times have changed and using class time to transmit facts is not transmitting learning. Almost anything a teacher wants to lecture is already available on YouTube. Rather than boring students with information they know they can easily obtain in the moment, we should shift to what  students can do with this information.”

According to Keeler, students become disinterested in school for a lot of reasons, but a major one is that they do not find it relevant.

“The lecture is not provided in a context the individual student finds value in. It would be impossible to lecture to a diverse room of learners and have each student find the value in the content,” she explained. “When students are active with their learning, they can apply it in unique ways… in particular to ways that are of interest to them; then, we can give them lifelong skills and hopefully maintain their interest so they do not drop out of school.”

(Next page: Ways visual tech can help with retention)


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