Student Response Systems, aka clickers, are an item of interest in our High School. Many teachers have Smartboards, but are challenged with how to keep an entire class engaged when a few students are using this tool. Scoring formative assessments/quizzes/assignments in a timely fashion so that the feedback is relevant to the students and can be used in planning future lessons is also difficult. I think SRS may be an answer. While at the MITC conference, I made a point of attending some presentations on SRS and visiting with vendors.
Some of the benefits and features of Student Response Systems include:
- Instant feedback to Teachers: Teachers know immediately who has grasped the concept. For example, students are working on long division. After solving a problem at their desk, they enter their answers using the remotes. The teacher monitors the incoming responses and can respond to a student’s need for a followup at his/her desk before he/she continue to work the next 9 problems incorrectly. Or, teachers can view a summary of the class’ feedback and determine what needs to be revisited in the next day’s lesson.
- Instant Feedback to Students: Students receive timely and relevant feedback. There are many options on how scoring can be shared/displayed. You can choose to display instant feedback each student’s remote. Also, correct answers can be displayed on the screen after all responses are submitted.
- Grading Machine: Saves teachers time with its instant grading and provided report. You can set different point values for each question.
- Data Analysis: Results can be exported into Excel and data aggregated to identify weaknesses or patterns. Questions can be tagged/indexed with key words that might prove helpful in this process, ie DOK1, GLE5.6.
- Easily Created: Quizzes are easily created and can be imported from Word. They can also be printed.
- Variety Formats and Purposes: Multiple choice, multiple answer, Yes/No True/False, and numeric responses. There is a 40 question limit. SRS could be used to conduct a formal assessment, or just grade homework as student input answers from yesterday’s assignment. A pretest could provide some initial feedback for the teacher prior to starting a unit and thus guide instruction. Review days before the test, as well as the test itself, could be administered with the remotes. You can monitor students’ progress during the test and easily be aware of students who won’t finish before the end of class.
- Multimedia: Your questions can include anything that can be embedded in a Notebook file: video, audio, images, animation, flash objects, text, etc.
- Anonymous Surveys: You have the option of allowing responses to be received anonymously, which could prove useful in situations where you just need feedback and who it comes from isn’t relevant. The anonymity of using the remote, instead of the raising of hands, may result in more honest responses.
- Change Your Mind: You can allow students to go back and change an answer. You can also allow students to skip and come back to questions.
- No Projector/Screen required: You can provide just a paper assignment with the remotes for the students to input their answers. No Smartboard or projector are required. When providing a paper, students can work at their own pace. If it is difficult for all students to see the screen, the paper copy at their desk will be helpful even when participating in a whole class activity with the questions displayed on the screen. This option might better suit some students with IEPs.
- 1-32 users: The whole class can be using the remotes at the same time, or the remotes could be used by just a small group or individual student.
Since we already use SMART Boards in our district, the SMART Response System (formerly Senteo) was a likely choice. During the presentation, I saw that an additional menu and tab are added to the SMART Notebook software when installing this tool. The creation, use, and managing of the quizzes seems to be very user friendly. It is a big plus that this tool uses software with which our teachers are already familiar. The SMART Exchange website features hundreds of questions sets available for free download and customization. The remotes, with a range of up to 100 feet, use radio frequency technology and do not require a line of sight. One cost of ownership concern is that each remote uses 2 AA batteries.
According to KC AV, SMART is offering a “seed” program in which we can try up to 10 sets in our District for 4 months. If we like the units, we can purchase them at the discounted price of $852 (Full prices is about $1600). Bob Andrus has submitted the application for our District requesting 10 sets, each with 32 remotes.
The CPS Pulse system from eInstruction, the other system I considered, is tempting. It includes content/quizzes, aligned to MO GLEs. The remote has a phone like keyboard which would please all our High School texters. It also has an extensive collection of reports. But the $2,695 price tag for a set of 32 is an issue.