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Lesson Prep

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Slam is a technological support for face-to-face peer learning. In other words, it is for use by students who are sitting side-by-side in the same room. The problem that Slam addresses is the difficulty integrating 21st century teaching and learning into the traditional classroom, something widely agreed as critical for socio-economic progress. In particular, Slam addresses the development of 21st century skills of collaboration, communication and problem-solving in tandem with mastery learning of educational material. To achieve this, we locally connect individual student devices, and engage groups of students in distributed, interactive exercises.

Facilitating productive peer learning in the classroom is a real challenge. It takes much time to prepare and requires a special skill set in teachers. Slam requires almost no preparation time, and enables teachers to spend more time one-on-one with students and less time orchestrating the class activity.

Another barrier to peer learning is that virtually all educational content is designed to be consumed by an individual, which enables stronger students to take over all the work, thus leaving weaker students without learning opportunities. Such poor group dynamics make peer learning experiences ineffective and frustrating.

For effective peer learning, it is important that students maintain ownership over their own progress, while also being interdependent with their peers. Individuals need to be accountable to the group and to themselves. We are confident that Slam achieves these aims.

The Team

Lydia Flynn is a Master’s Student in Education at Trinity College Dublin. She makes biology tutorial videos, and runs a maths outreach programme (500+ students).

Benedict Kuester is a Data Scientist, and previously worked at Zalando AG. He studied at University College London. Benedict has taught Computer Science and Statistics online and offline.

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