Okay Class, Take Your Smartphones Out: Top Hat Monocle’s Classroom Innovation

If you think it is okay to make fun of Canadians, you might want to reconsider. A Toronto based startup has developed an in-class response system where students use smartphones, tablets and laptops as their means to interact with the teacher.

According to Mashable, Instructors that want to use Top Hat Monocle can “develop interactive quizzes, surveys, discussions and other features, and encourage students to engage with these presentations through their mobile devices.” CEO/founder Mike Silagadze had noticed while studying engineering that attendance dropped nearly 30% by mid-semester. “That’s pretty disastrous if you think about the amount of energy and time that goes into preparing for the lectures by the professors and by the schools preparing equipment for it,” commented Silagadze.

Top Hat launched back in 2010 and since then, “the service has been used by teachers in nearly 200 universities worldwide (mostly in the United States and Canada); Silagadze expects to reach 200,000 students by the end of this year.”

New tech that changes behavior from the ‘old way’ is always new and scary. By introducing Top Hat, the education system is allowing itself to embrace newer technology and take advantage of a growing issue within the classroom. No longer would teachers have to worry about students playing on social media accounts. Student phones can aid in the daily lesson and keep kids engaged.

From Smart Boards to the Black Board app, school systems from the most funded elite to the lowest common denominator of public institutions should be budgeted for technological change. Think of all the outdated books that sit on the shelves of public schools. Think of all the equipment eating away at local school budgets that is never used or hardly replaced. Utilizing technological advances to better our children should never be a question of ‘should we’ but ‘when are we doing this.’