by Miryam Muller in ,


Much has been said about how connected devices, whether in college lecture halls or elementary school classrooms, can distract students. GoSoapBox aims to show how such devices can also help keep class on track.

GoSoapBox makes a web-based app that serves as a constant back-channel to classroom discussion. Students can use it to post questions about the lecture, vote up questions their classmates have already submitted, set their statuses to “confused,” and contribute to polls and questions posted by the teacher.

“With the app, students are less likely to get distracted because they’re staying engaged with the material,” says GoSoapBox co-founder and CEO John Pytel, who says he got the idea while attending large lectures at Michigan State University. “The questions they have are getting answered.”

The teacher is also saved from making disruptive changes to the lesson plan in order to accommodate the new technology. All of the behaviors on the app — indicating confusion, responding to questions — are natural in classrooms. Theoretically, the technology just makes it less disruptive and less intimidating for everyone to participate while providing teachers with instant feedback.

GoSoapBox provides a way for them to use those devices to interact with class rather than distract themselves from it.

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