Creative Teaching

Using interactive technologies in the classroom

Students come to university with smartphones, laptops and other smart devices. These can be  utilised during a session to enable participation. There are a series of mobile apps and social media applications that make interaction during a large class possible including individual contributions as well as in groups.  Examples include quizzes and multiple choice questions, responses to open questions. Furthermore such devices can be used to make and share visuals such as picture, drawings and video clips as a response to an activity or task or even to collect feedback on a session, unit or programme.
Manchester Met supports the use of Ombea for this kind of work (contact the Technology Enhanced Learning team for details), other examples are Answergarden or Mentimeter.

The flipped classroom

The flipped classroom approach can be used to transform lectures into an interactive experience. This approach frees time in the classroom and enables your students to share ideas, questions and debate. Interact with them! Ask yourself, what can students learn on their own? Then move this outside the classroom. Ask them to engage with specific readings and activities in advance and in-between session. Flip your classroom! Use the time you spend with your students wisely for things you know your students might struggle with. These can be some of the threshold concepts of your discipline for example.

  • Create opportunities for self- and group-study before the session.
  • Let your students come up with the readings and design some of the tasks you want them to do before class.
  • Use Moodle and social media to flip your classroom and involve your students actively in this process.

Have a look at these videos:

A short introduction to the flipped classroom in 60 seconds by Julie Schell

Prof Eric Mazur, developer of the flipped classroom, explains the techniques and benefits of the approach

Prof Eric Mazur… a personal confession

Learning through building models and using objects

We learn by experiencing, by doing. Create opportunities for experiential learning in the classroom. Object- and model-based learning can help and transform a session into an explorative experience through which students will be able to make valuable discoveries on their own and with their peers. Check out for example our LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® resources. Also consider using   objects that will act as valuable learning hooks and make learning more memorable and sticky.

This video from the UTA Good Practice Exchange featuring Kerry Moakes, illustrates an object-based learning approach.

Remember the powerful post-it note!

It doesn’t need an internet connection and even works when there is a powercut. Consider asking your students to have a pack with them, in each session, just like they carry a pen or their smartphone. Ever asked your students a question and only get an answer from a few? Well, then try the following: Ask your whole class a question. Ask everybody to articulate their response on a post-it note without asking them to add their name. Ask students to swap their post it notes randomly. Then ask your class to share the answer that is on the sticky note they have in their hands. You will notice that there will be many volunteers now… as the answer in front of them is not theirs. Removing that barrier talking about themselves will progressively help them to build confidence and participate more in class. Try it!

The scale-up classroom

The scale-up classroom presents an alternative learning space to the traditional lecture theatre. It maximises working in groups through carefully arranged desks and chairs as well as technology that enable the lecturer and students to move around and interact more freely. It does require some changes to the traditional lecture theatre setting and an investment. It might be useful to explore if such changes would be possible in your department and faculty to maximise on interaction and collaborative learning in the large-group classroom.

This video from the University of North Dakota gives a flavour of the space and the activities.


If you are using any of the above approaches in your teaching, please get in touch so that we can capture this practice and further share across the institution via our Good Practice Exchange for example and tweet us your idea using @celtmmu.


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