BACKGROUND: There is an increasing trend toward transcending from traditional teaching to student-centered methodologies that actively engage students. We aimed to analyze students' perceptions of effective interactive teaching using PollEverywhere Audience Response System (ARS) as a worthwhile teaching methodology. It can be of great help in maintaining students' attention and in facilitating the lecturer to pick up students' misunderstandings and correct them.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: This system was introduced to the undergraduate dental curriculum to increase student's motivation and attention, giving immediate feedback on student understanding during an anatomy module. Computer science (CS) students who were more familiar with the use of this technology were also involved in the study for comparison and validation of the findings. The lecturer strategically inserted questions using PollEverywhere ARS. Students' perception of the effective interactive teaching using this technology was evaluated statistically using a questionnaire and focus groups.
RESULTS: It promoted interactivity, focused attention, and provided feedback on comprehension. A total of 95% reported that it increased their participation and found that it clarified their thinking and helped to focus on key points. Another 81.7% mentioned that it increased their motivation to learn. Students regarded it as a useful method for giving real-time feedback, which stimulated their performance and participation. Data from CS students echoed the findings from the dental students. Reports from focus groups demonstrated that this strategy was helpful in focusing students' attention and in clarifying information.
DISCUSSION: PollEverywhere encouraged all students to participate during the learning process. This has proven to be an effective tool for improving students' understanding and critical thinking.
CONCLUSION: Students regarded PollEverywhere as an effective teaching innovation that encouraged deeper ongoing retention of information. It was found to be an effective teaching aid in monitoring students' progress and identifying deficiencies. This is of benefit in a module where interactivity is considered important.