It has happened to everyone at one time or another. It’s that sinking feeling of being unable to follow what the instructor is covering in class. Is it the material or are you just an imbecile?, you wonder to yourself. Then you realize you’ve got a dilemma: Raise your hand, voice your confusion and potentially hold up the whole class from moving forward, or keep your mouth shut and possibly fail the test on it.

This is an age-old dilemma, but there’s a new tool that could help. An application called Understoodit is heading to beta testing, and it’s so simple, it’s utterly elegant. Understoodit’s only function is to alert the teacher when students are confused. What’s effective about it is that it does this anonymously. It’s like a modern-day method of raising your hand, but without the embarrassment.

For teachers, this is invaluable. One of the biggest gripes for educators is standing at the front of the class and facing a bunch of blank stares. They need cues to tell them if the material is understood, so they know to move on. Not only does Understoodit make that clear, but it offers the data in real time. Students use their mobile devices or computers to acknowledge comprehension (or express confusion), and the teachers can tweak their lessons or lectures on the fly.

This could have quite a decent shot of making a lasting difference for classrooms. The whole idea is simplicity, in both functionality and UI. And if you make a tool like this both helpful and easy to use, then there’s no reason this little teacher’s aid couldn’t dramatically improve learning comprehension in schools and universities, or even professional development courses and other learning environments. And who knows? Maybe it can even banish the boredom of long, confusing classes forever. That pretty much sounds like a win-win situation for both students and educators. The only caveat is… well, there are probably lots of kids who’d love to be able to “dis” their teachers’ lessons without having to name themselves.

Could you see yourself using a tool like Understoodit in class? (Or would you have loved something like that when you were a student?) If not, then what’s your idea of a must-have classroom tech tool? Share your ideas below.

[via TechCrunch]