In developing ways to integrate more student choice and meaningful learning into education, ATE speakers Shayna Pond, Laura Halstied, and Ryan Rahhal brought up student interest as one of the most important components. When it comes to how we learn, everyone has different preferences. Areas like what content interests students and what format works best are questions to consider when trying to cultivate knowledge, but also a lasting love for education. So as academics, how do we solve for these kinds of questions and what tools exists to help? 

Through the Academic Tech Expo, I was introduced to useful tools such as Mentimeter, an easy and practical way to engage students in class discussions and presentations using technology that is already at their fingertips.

Mentimeter, or, allows users to build interactive presentations, and empowers participants to feel confident in their engagement as it allows for anonymous interaction. This website provides its users with multiple templates and examples for creating spaces to promote classroom engagement, such as word clouds, multiple choice quizzes, and surveys, just to name a few. Utilizing this kind of tool in the classroom offers instructors the opportunity to gain authentic feedback from students’ responses, while also facilitating a safe space for students to share their opinions. I personally resonated with this approach because as a student myself, I often see instructors ask a question to the class that is met with silence, but with a tool like this I would feel more freedom to ‘click’ my answer and see what other students are thinking as well. As an Instructional Designer, the ambition is to cultivate a learning environment in which students walk away feeling heard and assured of their educational goal, a concept that I believe this tool genuinely supports.