Leverage three educational technology tools for retrieval practice

Concurrent Session 3

Session Materials

Brief Abstract

Learn how to use three different technology tools to help students leverage the power of retrieval practice in their learning: Remind, Sli.do, and PollEverywhere. Help students practice getting knowledge out of their heads, instead of solely trying to fill their heads with information. Bring a web-enabled device to the session.


professor, learner, reader, encourager, geek (#edtech), host of Teaching in Higher Ed podcast, married to @davestachowiak, mother to two little ones.

Extended Abstract

“When we think about learning, we typically focus on getting information into students’ heads. What if, instead, we focus on getting information into students’ heads?” (Agarwal, “Retrieve!”). 

When we ask our students to practice retrieving information, we can increase their overall understanding of complex concepts and help them build a more connected network of knowledge. Low-stakes or no-stakes quizzing has shown to be most helpful in facilitating learning. Students who are given retrieval practice will be challenged, effectively, and will experience more powerful and longer-term learning. 

As Robert Bjork shared on episode #72 of the Teaching in Higher Ed podcast, “As we use our memories, the things we recall become more recallable” (Bjork, “How to Use Cognitive Psychology to Enhance Learning.”)

Today’s educational technology provides us with a wide-ranging set of tools to use in giving our students opportunities for retrieval practice. These tools have features that are all demonstrated ways of improving long-term retention of knowledge: interleaving (the ability to mix-up the questions), spacing (practicing retrieving the information over a longer span of time), and varied conditions (giving different examples and using different question types). 

Three tools that the presenter has found as particularly helpful in offering opportunities for retrieval practice are:

Poll Everywhere

In this session, attendees will be given the opportunity to experience the tool as a student, and will be provided with information about how to leverage the technology as a teacher. Bring your web-enabled device (a smart phone, a tablet, or a laptop) and get ready to experience some retrieval practice of your own. 

Note: The companies that create the tools we will use in this session are not compensating the presenter in any way in exchange for her sharing about how she uses their services. She either uses the free versions of the tools, or she has determined that the paid versions are worth the investment. 


Agarwal, P. (n.d.). Retrieve! Retrieved June 1, 2016, from http://www.retrievalpractice.org/
Bjork, R. (n.d.). How to use cognitive psychology to enhance learning. Retrieved June 1, 2016, from http://teachinginhighered.com/podcast/cognitive-psychology/