iPhone 4 used for teaching maths at Imperial College

Getting a degree? There's an app for that

Maths Professor Richard Thomas has employed a new teaching technique at the Imperial College London, via the use of iPhones, Androids and other smartphones.

At the beginning of the class students link their iPhone or other device up to an interactive web page set up specifically for them, in order to test their maths skills. Once everyone is connected, Thomas creates a random equation and writes it down for the students. Then, via the interactive web page, he gives the students multiple choice answers that are beamed onto their screens.

The class is then given a few minutes to work out the equation and “vote” for the answer, they do this by selecting one of the choices and submitting it. Once all of the answers are in there is a short delay followed by the appearance of a simple bar graph on the students’ iPhones. The results display the collective percentage of answers from the class at which point Thomas reveals the right answer.

While not all of the staff at Imperial support this new form of teaching, Thomas is adamant that his iPhone method is a quick and simple way that “disrupts the ‘copy down lecture notes’ mentality.” It also engages the students more and allows the shyer types to contribute without being the centre of attention, he claims.

Will this new form of teaching kick off and spread to every school and college in the country? Is the future of teaching held in the hands of the technology that surrounds us now? What are your views on using iPhones for teaching? Let us know via our Twitter and Facebook pages.

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