Survey courses tend to be relatively large and impersonalized learning environments. This talk describes lessons learned from trying to employ students’ mobile technologies to increase opportunities for student participation in large classes. While students have more opportunities to go off task with mobile technologies, our research finds that students feel more, not less, attentive and engaged if the technology is deliberately employed as part of class. These results encourage us to explore more ways for student-instructor and student-student interactions to improve the learning environments of large classrooms.

Perry Samson is Professor of Atmospheric Sciences in the Department of Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Sciences at the University of Michigan where he has been honored as an Arthur Thurnau Professor for his contributions to undergraduate education. In 2010 Prof. Samson was named the “Distinguished Professor of the Year” by the State of Michigan Council of Presidents. While his research focuses on air pollution modeling and interpretation, his passion is innovative use of technologies to stimulate student learning. Recent projects in this area include on-line classroom management systems, development of learning objects in the geosciences and tools for exploring real-time data. Perry is a co-founder of The Weather Underground, an on-line resource for real-time weather information, and LectureTools, a web-based student engagement system.
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