Digital in the Classroom: The Student Voice

How do students perceive the use of digital solutions in the classroom? What better way to find out than to ask students themselves?

We recently spoke with Zak Malamed, a student at the University of Maryland. Zak is also the Founder & Executive Director of Student Voice, and is a member of the panel for “STUDENTS UNFILTERED: Digital in the Classroom,” Cengage Learning’s session to take place during SXSWedu 2016. Below, Zak discusses why he believes it’s important to include students in the conversation about digital in the classroom.

Why is it important to hear from students about their experience with digital in the classroom?

We need to understand how digital is working and not working from the users of these learning tools. Just using digital in the learning environment does not mean students are benefiting from it. It needs to be used well and we will only learn how to use it well by involving students in the implementation process.

What is one common misconception about students and the use of digital in the classroom?

Students do not love all things digital. That is not to say that we want to go back to the days of paper and pencil. In reality, we like what makes our work easier, and what makes learning more conducive to our learning styles.

How can we collectively elevate students’ voices to improve the higher-education system?

Education is about serving the students. We need to understand students best…. There cannot be one decision made about students that does not involve students in the decision-making process. Make them a part of meetings, actively pursue feedback from the student body, and openly call for their involvement in being a part of making decisions that will shape their learning experience.

If you could give your professors one piece of advice about using digital learning tools in the classroom, what would it be?

Work with your students to determine the best ways to use these tools.

What is the value of having a student-centric, student driven conversation at SXSWedu?

Education is about serving the students. We need to understand students best, in order to support them well.


Follow Zak on Twitter at @zakmal.


“Students Unfiltered” at SXSWedu 2016!

Cengage Learning is pleased to announce that our “Students Unfiltered” session will take place during SXSWedu 2016! We’re looking forward to a lively and informative presentation that brings students into the spotlight.

Learn more about STUDENTS UNFILTERED: Digital in the Classroom