Malardalen Hogskola (MDH) is a University based in two cities, Vasteras and Eskilstuna in Sweden. MDH use Mentimeter to gauge student understanding of certain subjects, encourage student interaction and increase engagement. We spoke with Senior Lecturer Toon Larsson at MDH to discuss why Mentimeter is so important to use during University lectures.
Getting students to voice their opinions in a class is often challenging and particularly daunting for the students. Toon Larsson explains ‘when you have 50-60 people sitting there, is that everyone feels that they are invisible.’ Mentimeter gives all students a voice and makes sure not one person goes unheard. The anonymity factor with Mentimeter means that it facilitates frank and honest discussions without the fear of retribution. Students are no longer scared that their question will be laughed at or they could get in trouble.
Toon Larsson goes on to explain that ‘a lot of the learning is the interaction with the people so it is not just reading a book’, Mentimeter encourages interaction and fosters a culture of continuous improvement allowing students to give feedback and express opinions. The ability to ask a range of different questions types with Mentimeter and the ease at which anyone can get to grips with the tool is what makes it so unique. Toon explains ‘Mentimeter is so easy to set up. It is very intuitive, so whatever kind of exercise I want them to do I can set it up in 2 or 3 minutes.’ Whether it be a fun quiz exercise to track understanding, or an open-ended question to get feedback on a lecture or even a multiple-choice question to increase engagement ‘Mentimeter allow(s) me to show what everyone is thinking.’
My own view on lectures are my memory from a student was that I think lectures are usually quite boring, and then the problem with a large classroom, when you have 50-60 people sitting there, is that everyone feels that they are invisible.
But also when you have a large classroom and you can use Mentimeter for some exercises, usually I use it to make them discuss something and make them interact. We could just record our lectures and put them online but I think that then you lose the interaction and if we don’t have the interaction then could tell the students to read a book and see me in 3 months. That’s not teaching to me but, I mean teaching is activities I do to improve people’s learning.
My name is Toon Larsson and I am a Senior Lecturer in marketing and strategies so I mainly teach marketing at MDH University. At MDH we have a career path that is also pedagogical. It is a peer-reviewed process where I have to show how I work with teaching and how I develop pedagogical tools and that is I think a very good thing from the university because it indicts that teaching is important. Very often the signal from a lot of places is that you should be good at teaching but you will only be promoted based on your research. So I have two steps, first I prepare the academic content that I want the students to know and then I would look at how I will make them remember that.
I think that the form I teach is as important as I can say very important things but if no one is awake to listen then no one will remember something. I really like that with MDH that this is a place where they actually put their money where their mouth is and say that no this can get you a promotion.
I think a lot of the learning is the interaction with the people so it is not just reading a book, it is us discussing things back and forth maybe putting new perspectives on things and again a tool like Mentimeter would allow me to show that this is what everyone is thinking. I think the strength with Mentimeter is that it is so easy to set up. It is very intuitive, so whatever kind of exercise I want them to do I can set it up in 2 or 3 minutes. And sometimes I meet old students and they bring up ‘oh that is what you did in the classroom, you mentioned that..’ and if you remember that after 5 years then I am very happy.