U Michigan Rolls Out Laptop-Based Interactive Teaching Tool

The University of Michigan will soon make a new interactive classroom response system available to faculty--one that was developed in house and uses laptops in place of classroom clickers.

The system, dubbed LectureTools, was developed by Perry Samson, Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Sciences for use in a large lecture class, Extreme Weather. According to the university, it was also piloted in four other classes last semester. And it will soon be available to faculty at large through U Michigan's CTools portal.

LectureTools is designed to get students actively involved in lectures and combines features found in student response systems (also known as classroom clickers) with other presentation technologies, allowing students to take notes, annotate lecture slides, make drawings, and view podcasts. Unlike other classroom response systems, LectureTools uses students' laptops as the input devices for responding to polls.

"Students learn better by being actively engaged in the lecture, offering their own feedback and discussing with their peers, as LectureTools allows them to do," Samson said in a statement released by the university. "We're utilizing all the students' propensities and abilities to multitask."

LectureTools also recently added a new feature that adds social networking capabilities, allowing students to post profiles of themselves to help them get to know each other and make form study groups.

Further information about LectureTools can be found here.

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