Yale Center for Teaching and Learning

Instructional Tools

There are a variety of tools that can be used in the classroom to support student learning. This section describes the implementation of a variety of technological tools. Examples include the whiteboard, index cards, posters, audience response systems (e.g. clicker technology), Google collaboration tools, and wikis.   Depending on course learning goals and outcomes, an instructor may choose to use one or several of these tools to augment the teaching and learning environment in their classroom.

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Obtaining formative feedback in the classroom remains a powerful ingredient for supporting student learning (Trumbull and Lash, 2013). By knowing in real-time the degree to which students understand concepts and can engage in higher-order thinking around course material, the instructor can alter their instruction to foster learning.
Cognitive science supports the visual display of information as useful for student learning. In particular, dual coding theory has been applied to education around the visual processing of information (Clark & Paivio, 1991). Dual coding theory describes both verbal and non-verbal processes as key components of cognition.
One example of an everyday tool that can support learning in the classroom is the index card. Instructors can gather formative feedback on student progress towards achieving particular learning outcomes with note cards, as well as obtain other useful information on their students.
Sociocultural theories suggest that students’ experiences interacting with others in the classroom can positively influence their learning (John-Steiner and Mahn,1996). As such, instructors can seek to find ways to implement collaborative work in the classroom.
Immediate Feedback Assessment Technique (IF-AT) forms are similar to lottery scratch off tickets. They are named after the idiom, “If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again.” They are used in higher education as a way to engage students with assessment.
Chalkboards and whiteboards are arguably the most iconic tools associated with teaching. Scholarly literature suggests students learn better by having information presented through multiple modalities, especially through visual means (Mayer, 2003), and boards are perhaps the simplest visual teaching tool.
Many online tools allow students to publish their individual or group class work to public audiences on the Web. Such assignments often align with having students connect their in-class learning to a real-world phenomenon.