Unmissable 2019 education themes

From the fallout of Brexit, the women’s FIFA world cup, 75thanniversary of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy and another royal baby due in the spring, 2019 is set to be roller coaster of a year. What exciting themes and technological developments lay in store for teachers and students across the UK? Gary Morrison, vice president, International Division of Turning Technologies, discusses the latest pedagogical approaches making a mark in our schools, colleges and universities.

Participative pedagogy

Peer instruction is well established as an effective and practical active learning pedagogy and continues to be a successful strategy in every teacher’s armory. So, how do you know what your group is really thinking? Investing in a good audience response system will enable you to run live Q&As at the touch of a button, whether you’ve prepared for them or want to run one on the spot. This technology really can be your wingman if you feel you’re losing the attention of your audience, or simply want to check in on their learning throughout your session. You can use apps downloaded onto individual smartphones which rely on the audience remembering to bring them in, or you can purchase a complete system which includes bespoke handsets.

Polling a group with an audience response system enables you to keep respondents’ answers and opinions anonymous which typically achieves greater engagement than using a simple show of hands. Asking people to vote anonymously on a contentious or personal issue gives great scope for discussion and debate without singling out individuals in the room.

Rather than introducing unfamiliar elements into e-learning, it makes perfect sense to engage students actively wherever possible using the devices with which they are already well acquainted.

Mobile learning

Technologies such as mobile devices and ARS are also great for empowering reluctant participators. Whilst you will naturally have students in your sessions that are less keen to speak up, technology now enables them to share their opinions anonymously as part of a collective. Using a combination of anonymous polls and open debate sessions will ensure all students can participate confidently. A whole study has been conducted into ‘Empowering or compelling reluctant participators using audience response systems’ if you’re keen to read more!

Talking to one of our TurningPoint users, Christopher Wiley, senior Lecturer in Music at the University of Surrey, the ubiquity of smartphones, tablets and laptops on today’s university campuses means that mobile learning remains crucial to the e-learning agenda. Rather than introducing unfamiliar elements into e-learning, it makes perfect sense to engage students actively wherever possible using the devices with which they are already well acquainted – which, of course, is exactly what Turning Technologies’ fantastic TurningPoint app enables him to do.


While we’re not talking the latest Xbox or Playstation release, the concept of gamification is really taking off in education, helping teachers to achieve their pedagogical goals and adapting them better to learners’ requirements. Catching up with Carlos Gonzalez Morcillo, academic director at Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha at our recent Turning Technologies User Conference, he says that there are many approaches that lecturers can take to gamify lessons, even without using any IT solution. He says that in any game, we can distinguish three fundamental features that must be present: interactivity, feedback and quantifiable results.

Using classroom response devices facilitates the creation of gamification-based dynamics without the requirement of working with very small groups. Thanks to this type of technological solution, it is possible to apply gamification techniques to large groups of students in an agile manner.

Merging real and online worlds

Talking to Simon Lancaster, professor of Chemistry Education, School of Chemistry at the University of East Anglia, he foresees ever closer integration of the online and face-to-face student experience. Flipping (to prepare for active learning) will explore prior knowledge and become more tailored to the needs of the individual. Analytical tools will mine online and in-class digital responses and behaviors to create a better picture of where students struggle and require most help.