As teachers, we all know there is just not enough time in the day to grade every paper and have an accurate working knowledge of each student’s skills and needs. If you teach middle or high school, this becomes even more exaggerated with your number of students often reading into the hundreds. Additionally, keeping all of your students engaged and away from their daydreams is becoming an increasing challenge in the 21st century. There are few tools that can be used to increase student engagement through classroom response systems. The goal of all the tools that are highlighted below is to increase active engagement and provide real time assessment data for educators to use.
If your classroom does not have access to devices for each student, classroom clickers can be another great option, with just a one time cost. Most of the clicker brands on the market offer a few levels of clickers. Some include just 4 or 5 answer buttons for multiple choice answering, while some include numbers 1-10 or full keyboards. These systems are great for keeping students on task with minimal distractions. They are also mobile so students can be up around the room moving while using them.
The most challenging part of these products will be finding the product that works with your existing classroom technology. Most of the clickers are able to work on Macs and PCs and many also have mobile apps as well. The downside of most of the clickers is that they do not integrate with PowerPoint or GoogleSlides, leaving educators to correlate the questions and responses separately.
As technology becomes more prevalent in the classroom, stand alone clickers are becoming less common, but still a great option in settings where distractions need to be limited, or you do not want students to have internet access while they answer.
Any of the choices listed here can provide two main benefits to your classroom. First off, they ensure every student is engaged and actively attempting to think through the lesson at hand. We have all had a student, who it seems does nothing all day. Student response systems put accountability on the student and provide you with valuable data on participation that can be used in student, parent, and support staff conversations. Secondly, they all provide you with real time data on all of your students. Without a student response system in your classroom, you are left to assess students manually, sucking up much of your time and energy that could be used elsewhere.
Regardless of the assessment choices you make in your classroom, the act of continually assessing students is what provides educators with the valuable knowledge that is needed to provide the highest quality education. Using the tools highlighted here, you can quickly identify which students are struggling and need more support, and which are ready to be challenged. With differentiation being the name of the game in the modern classroom, continual assessment is essential.
Overall, students perceived the use of (game-based) student response systems better satisfy the research-teaching nexus learning activities allowed them to develop research skills. Specifically, students perceived the Teaching 2 approach to be more research-led and better informed by departmental research. Also, it was perceived to be more research-oriented including activities relating to all stages of the research process, and the problem-based activities encouraged students to work in research and inquiry mode. Students’ enjoyed the problem-based approach through the use of (game-based) student response systems making research decisions such as hypothesizing and designing the study. Finally, students found the integration of a research-tutored approach and felt that the Teaching 2 approach was significantly more student-led than the one without the use of technology.