Social learning boosted at BGSU PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sentinel-Tribune Staff   
Friday, 04 January 2013 10:19
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Bowling Green State University has a secret weapon when it comes to keeping students engaged in the classroom. It's called QizBox: A Social Learning Environment. Now, thanks to BGSU's Chief Information Officer John Ellinger, it's available to educators all over the world.                    
QizBox is a Web application that uses game mechanics to create a social learning environment, which enhances the real-life classroom lecture and presentation experience. The presenter can share slides, quiz the audience and provide real-time feedback. Students can discuss the lecture in a chat room, ask and answer questions, and take notes that are accessible for later review through a dashboard interface.                               
QizBox also includes a dynamic award system that honors audience engagement with the presentation. Users can accumulate awards that contribute to a collaborative and cooperative learning environment. Presenters are also given analytical tools to measure engagement within a presentation.
Educators everywhere can now use QizBox as part of a beta license agreement with BGSU. Eastern Michigan University was the first to install it and is using it in a chemistry class of 66 students. Indiana University also tested the system last year.
Dr. Royce Martin, an associate professor of engineering technologies at BGSU, has been using QizBox since spring 2011. "I am very happy with how this perfected system enhances my class and pedagogical style," Martin said. "Instead of using costly clickers, students can use their tablet, smartphone, or laptop to answer a question on the screen. With the graph built into Qizbox, the students and I get immediate feedback as to how many got it right or wrong and thus, an indication as to whether further clarification is needed."
Over 600 students at BGSU have used the social learning environment in more than 14 classes. Dr. Tim Brackenbury, an associate professor in communications sciences and disorders at BGSU, and Anthony Fontana, QizBox creator, BGSU learning technologies consultant and instructor in the School of Art, are currently working on a study to measure how well it is increasing engagement in classes compared to traditional lecture pedagogies.  
"QizBox is very exciting because it allows faculty members to make their presentations more active and student-centered," said Brackenbury. "It provides multiple routes for real-time formative assessment of student learning and engages students in ways that the traditional lecture format rarely achieves."
Ryan Bronkema, a Ph.D. student in higher education at BGSU, agrees. "Qizbox is a great way to liven up previously developed presentations by engaging students in dialogue with social media features in class. If increasing student dialogue in your classes is something you are striving to do, Qizbox is the answer."
While Fontana came up with the QizBox concept, students in BGSU's computer science program developed it as an integrative learning experience along with student employees at Agile Software Factory, a service-learning program within the Department of Computer Science directed by Dr. Joseph Chao, an associate professor of computer science.
The Office of the CIO funded the project.
"The fact that this software was created by faculty and developed by students shows BGSU's commitment to empowering faculty innovation and fostering integrative teaching and learning experiences," Fontana said. "It's been an amazing journey bringing this product from an idea, to the students in the classroom, and now to educators all over the world."
To learn more about QizBox at BGSU and beyond, visit QizBox.bgsu.edu.
 

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