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Gadgets in the Classroom

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At Grace E. Metz Middle School in Manassas Va., students use hand-held devices called "clickers" to prepare for state tests. Educators who have used them say clickers help involve every student in a lesson and give teachers immediate feedback about what students are learning, so that instructional strategies can be changed on the fly.


What role do electronic learning devices play in your school? Do they help students or distract them? Should schools invest more or less in learning technologies in the future?

3 Comments

Editor's Note: We were experiencing technical difficulties with TalkBack earlier this week. We apologize for the inconvenience. The program is now up and working again.

edweek.org

I have had the extreme fortune of using Qwizdom RF student response systems in my classroom. It has been unbeliveable how the motivation, participation, and retention has soared with my students. They absolutely love using the 'clickers' and so do I. With my Qwizdom set, I can remotely control my powerpoint presentations. During my lesson, I include all types of questions, (for instance yes/no, numberic input, multiple choice, sequencing, or true/false) for students to answer. All the answer choices are displayed on each child's LCD screen and all their responses are recorded in my gradebook. Therefore, I can deliver dynamic lessons, hold kids accountable, conduct formative assessment, not need to spend hours grading, and have them love learning (especially with all the games, but that is no surprise).
America today is filled with distractions. We are constantly fighting for their attention. Kids are comfortable with technology and gravitate to devices like this. They get immediate feedback and even the shy kids are not afraid to contribute. Plus, having the computer randomly select students just with a button on my teacher remote, all my students must stay alert. This way I can call on students to express thoughts or explanations, without being critized for selecting or not selecting certain students to response.
Electronic learning devices or student response systems or how ever else they are referred to as are definite technologies worth the investment of schools. I can unequivocally state that it has improved learning for each one of my students, all for less than the price of one laptop.

I have had the opportunity to use a Classroom Performance System from eInstruction. They work much like the systems Neal described. They have been a wonderful tool to involve students that otherwise would not be involved in the classroom. The company also updates the software about twice a year and offers an unlimited license for all the computers in the school and the computers each teacher has at home. The constant updates make them easier to work with and they offer more ideas for using them in the classroom.

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  • Jason Bengs: I have had the opportunity to use a Classroom Performance read more
  • Neal Lenarcic: I have had the extreme fortune of using Qwizdom RF read more
  • Anthony Rebora, senior online editor, edweek.org: Editor's Note: We were experiencing technical difficulties with TalkBack earlier read more

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