An interactive presentation should be a memorable one. It encourages your audience to sit up straight and pay attention to what you are saying. On the other hand, a bored audience, just passively sitting there and listening to teachers talk, is an undesirable one, and bored students will not pay much attention to what you have to say.
According to neuropsychologist Olivier Verdin, participants need more transitions during lectures, since the University of Dauphine has indicated that the attention span of a student is an average of 10 minutes. By adding these breaks in a presentation, teachers are able to vary a presentation’s pace and style, and affect the attitude of its participants. Varying the teaching methods and pedagogical activities is a must to help keep your audience captivated.
To spare you and your listeners the ordeal of a passive and boring presentation, I recommend an audience response system I came across at my University called Wooclap, for teachers out there in need of a more dynamic classroom.
Wooclap enables teachers to integrate their questions within their presentation slides with ease. Students respond online with a mobile device or computer, and feedback is immediately displayed during the presentation. This not only allows for more interactivity between the teacher and its students, but it also helps re-capture the student’s attention, in a meaningful way.
To make the best out of the use of such a tool, I have gathered here several tips to guarantee the success of your interactive presentation when using Wooclap.
Break the ice with a word cloud
Getting the attention of your audience is essential but can be challenging. To smoothly bring students into the presentation, I recommend starting a session with a word cloud. The teacher can ask students to respond to an open ended question and students’ responses are displayed in the work cloud.
This enables students to react and see the different perspectives in the classroom and gets them thinking about the subject at hand. Teachers can use this as a starting block for the presentation to survey what students think about the subject.
Timing is crucial
Another technique to leverage throughout a presentation is the timing for each question. When using Wooclap, for each question asked, the user can choose how much time to allot. Varying the timing depending on the question is crucial and can’t be overlooked. For instance, when asking an opinionated question only a short period of time (30 seconds) is needed. However, for example an open response question or a math question is being asked, students should have closer to two minutes to respond. These time limits should not be set in stone, but rather changed depending on the class and the amount of students in the auditorium.
Timing is just as important after the answers are in as well. Teachers should pause after each question, analyse the feedback given and let their students explain their choices to determine if the class understands the material before moving onto the next question.
Use videos strategically
While presenting with Wooclap, professors naturally invest more energy during an interactive presentation to make it effective. A strategy many professors have found useful, is placing a brief video within their presentation, to allow them to catch their breath. For obvious reasons, don’t overuse videos, since it can ultimately be counterproductive when trying to increase student engagement.
Create friendly competition
An interesting function in Wooclap that can help achieve peak productivity is the competition mode. This function tracks the correct answers and gives points accordingly. A leaderboard is then displayed in between each question. This added competition creates even more interaction and gives the instructor immediate feedback.
Evaluate the presentation
During presentations, the platform gives you immediate feedback on how many people got the correct answer, which allows you to explain information that isn’t understood. However, it's also recommended that teachers take a deeper look at the feedback after lectures to assess their own performance as a teacher. Wooclap allows teachers to export the data in an Excel spreadsheet to take a more analytical look at the results.
In conclusion, student response platforms are a revolutionary tool for educators. Instructors need to be able to use these tools effectively to get the best results and eventually get their students more engaged, and ultimately improve student grades and retention!