Everyone has probably settled into the semester by now. Those first few crazy days are behind us and we are sailing right into that comfortable rhythm. So, why would I want to talk about disrupting your classroom? Michael Horn described disruptive innovation as a technology that “transforms an existing sector or creates a new one by introducing simplicity, convenience, accessibility, and affordability” (McCrea, 2010). That doesn’t sound all bad.

Mobile technology can be considered a disruptive innovation in the classroom. Students engrossed in their mobile devices could not possibly be paying attention -right?  Surprisingly, more students are making use of their phones and tablets for educational endeavors along with social and entertainment adventures. Students meet in electronic hangout sessions, search for new knowledge, share materials with peers, and download educational videos.

TopHat could be considered one of those disruptive innovations. Why would I want to encourage my students to have their phones out during class? But what if instead of checking in with friends on SnapChat, they were engaging with class content? How can faculty leverage the mobile revolution invading their classrooms? One way could be to create an engaging learning environment using a tool that almost all students have with them in class (their mobile device).

Imagine taking attendance based on class participation. It is a win-win, you are sure students are attending class and they are rewarded for more than just sitting in a seat. You can ask questions and get responses from the entire class. A response system like TopHat can allow instructors to share slides with students so they can follow along with the lecture from their own device. The instructor can control the flow of information by locking the slide sequence so the students’ attention remains focused on what’s being presented. Instructors can even assign slides to be reviewed after class or as an exam study guide. Responses and participation are captured by the technology reducing your course management responsibilities freeing up more time for offering feedback and interacting with students.

Make disruptive innovation work for you!  

Christensen, C.M., Horn, M.B., & Johnson, C.W. (2008). Disrupting class: How disruptive innovation will Change the way the world learns. New York, NY: McGraw Hill.

McCrea, B. (2010, January). Disruptive Innovation in the classroom. THE Journal. Retrieved from https://thejournal.com/Articles/2010/01/21/Disruptive-Innovation-in-the-Classroom.aspx?Page=1