With Apple entering the ‘digital academic learning’ arena, education technology has found a global and mainstream audience overnight. As many of us already know, however, adoption of iTextbooks and the pursuit of a dynamic paperless campus will remain a distant opportunity until the expense of execution plummets. While costs are expected to decrease and new innovations will ultimately justify those costs, many of edtech’s most aggressive startups are leveraging ‘digitally native’ devices to deliver on tomorrow’s promises today. Student response platform Top Hat Monocle delivers an engaging approach to classic ‘clickers’ by exploiting the technology modern students currently wield in their pockets. Instead of purchasing costly gadgets, the platform allows the professor to monitor student attentiveness, gauge retention and quiz students by asking the class to submit responses over text or browser-based submissions. The professor is then able to tabulate a consensus and calibrate his lecture to better fit the immediate need of the class. The approach has worked for years with possibly soon-to-be antique ‘clickers’ and has shown to not only benefit intangibles such as attendance and engagement, but actual student performance and grade outcomes. With a low cost structure, simple implementation and aggressive growth plans, it’ll be interesting to see how far this firm will go in the new year.
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