In conversations with recent college graduates, I asked their opinions about the technologies and teaching strategies they found most helpful. The neuroscience, nursing, and medicine students consistently said they learned best when their faculty used interactive methods that reinforced what they learned independently or in study groups. Findings from case studies and research projects with interactive technologies show positive outcomes, including better student engagement, satisfaction, and clinical judgment (Krautscheid et al., 2019; Markwick & Sacco, 2021; McDonald et al., 2020; Veneri & Mongillo, 2021).
Faculty deploy instructional technologies in classrooms, online courses, and blended environments to support problem-based, inquiry-based, and project-based learning. In addition, nursing faculty use technology to improve knowledge of concepts, promote clinical judgment, and assess nursing competence. Some examples of instructional technology tools include familiar ones, such as learning management systems that provide a platform for delivering online courses and managing student progress and presentation software to teach course content in real-time or recorded sessions.
Other types of technology can be used to solve specific problems. For example, in medium- to large-sized classrooms, engaging students can be challenging. Student questions or responses to faculty prompts can be difficult to hear. A simple solution is Crowdmics (https://crowdmics.com), an app and hardware solution that allows students to speak, text, and vote directly from their smartphones. The most innovative feature of the Crowdmics system is that all students have microphones so questions and answers can be heard in the classroom.
Other instructional technologies that can promote engagement and learning are described below, with examples of free or low-cost solutions.
- Interactive whiteboards let faculty present and interact with students and share digital content in a classroom setting. If the learning management system does not contain a virtual whiteboard, faculty can use free whiteboards at https://www.tutorialspoint.com/whiteboard.htm/ or https://webwhiteboard.com.
- Educational software, such as simulations, games, and interactive tutorials, engage students and support learning. Several websites provide access to free or low-cost gaming software including LoQuiz (https://loquiz.com) and Filament (https://www.filamentgames.com/blog/educational-games-in-higher-education/).
- Interactive platforms can enliven an audience. Mentimeter, found at https://www.mentimeter.com, provides an integrated, cloud-based system to present course content and engage students with interactive questions, word clouds, live polling, quizzes, and short surveys. Juicer, found at https://www.juicer.io/education, aggregates social media posts. This technology can be adapted for classrooms. For example, faculty can assign concepts to student groups who then post them to their social media accounts. With Juicer, the postings can be seen simultaneously on a website or classroom monitor to generate discussions.
- Multimedia software lets users create, edit, and share multimedia content such as audio, video, and graphics. The most powerful multimedia software packages are also the most expensive. However, for audio editing, faculty can use free packages such as Audacity at https://www.audacityteam.org. OpenShot is a powerful, free video-editing software found at https://www.openshot.org. Canva, which is a graphics design software, is at https://www.canva.com. GIMP, found at https://www.gimp.org, is photo-editing software that lets users adjust an image’s brightness, contrast, or color.
Overall, instructional technologies can provide powerful tools to enhance teaching and learning. It is essential that faculty use them in ways that are appropriate and effective for the learning goals and needs of their students.
Krautscheid L., Williams S., Kahn B., Adams K. (2019). Untethered lecture capture: A qualitative investigation of college student experiences. Journal of Educational Technology Systems
, 48(1), 97–111. 10.1177/0047239519833690
Markwick L., Sacco T. L. (2021). A comparison of teaching methods for a baccalaureate nursing health assessment course. Computers, Informatics, Nursing
, 39(11), 786–792. 10.1097/CIN.0000000000000770
McDonald P. L., Straker H. O., Weaver G. C. (2020). Connecting classrooms, clinicians, and community clinics through technology (C4Tech) for active and collaborative learning. Journal of Physician Assistant Education
, 31(3), 133–139. 10.1097/JPA.0000000000000310
Veneri D., Mongillo E. (2021). Flop to flip: Integrating technology and team-based learning to improve student engagement. Internet Journal of Allied Health Sciences and Practice
, 19(2), Article 10. 10.46743/1540-580X/2021.2006