Engaging All Students In BIO 100: Using The Personal Response System to Enhance Student Learning in Lecture
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I propose to incorporate interactive group activities into the lecture component of BIO 100 to get students to think about a problem that I have posed to the class and will incorporate the technology known as the Personal Response System (PRS), which allows all students to respond to the question. PRS allows an instructor to gauge how well students understand or fail to understand the concept in real time; all the students' responses can be displayed graphically to the entire class, and the instructor can respond to any misconceptions that may be present immediately after students complete the group activity. By breaking up a lecture in this way, students are forced to think about what they have just heard and apply it to a new problem - it transforms them from passive note takers to active participants. I will develop and incorporate two to four group activities into each lecture and assess how this change in the format of lecture coupled with the technology that allows all students to share their thinking affects student learning of biological concepts and scientific inquiry skills, student attitudes toward the course, and their attitudes about science in general. The problem of student disengagement in lecture courses is not limited to BIO 100 but is prevalent among very large introductory science courses in LSA and across the country; thus, the approach advocated here should be transferable to many large lecture courses in the natural sciences as well as other disciplines.