I am currently researching the variety of student response systems out on the market to determine which brand, style, and system will work best in my classroom and at my school. These systems allow teachers to gauge student learning immediately during direct instruction. Teachers build in questions to ask the students during the presentations. They use the response systems to enter their answers and then their answers are displayed through the projector onto the board and presentation. Then the teacher can gauge student understanding immediately, rather than waiting for a quiz or test grade.
Technological Advances in Student Response Systems
There have been many advances over the past year to the student response systems. The traditional True/False and multiple choice response systems have now emerged as high-tech multi-function devices. Some response systems now include a full QWERTY keyboard, allow for text responses, and have computer-based or phone-based options available. Many manufacturers are now offering a one-to-one model where each student will have their own remote that they take with them to each of their classes with their traditional materials like a textbook, paper, and pencil. This is in place of having a classroom set that stays in one place.. Some schools are even requiring students to purchase their on remotes as part of their school supplies.
SRS Increase Learning Outcomes in Special Needs Classrooms
I believe that student response systems can play a vital role in increasing learning outcomes with students with special needs in the inclusion classroom. The student response systems allow students to answer and ask predetermined questions that were created by the teacher, but also allow for students to indicate when they don’t understand a concept or have a question. These systems can be set up to allow for the students’ identity to remain anonymous. This would allow the students to be actively engaged in their learning as well as decreasing any fear associated with asking questions or showing lack of comprehension in front of their peers.
Available Response Systems
SMART Tech has a variety of response systems. One of the remotes that they carry is specifically designed for students with special needs. It provides a color and shape coded system and larger buttons than their traditional response systems. Their other responses systems include options for QWERTY style remotes or using the response system through computers or cell phones. If you have a SMART board in your classroom the system seamlessly integrates with the Notebook software and the SMART board to make for easy implementation.
Turning Technologies also has a wide variety of student response systems. They have systems that can run through PowerPoint or other programs. Their clickers are much smaller than the SMART response remotes. They also have software you can download onto PDAs, phones, or computers and then use as the response system. The most advanced clicker that Turning Technologies has is the ResponseCard® XR. This system allows students to enter a wide variety of responses including numbers, letters, negatives, and decimals. They can also be used to give a complete interactive test that students can complete at their own pace.
An online FREE polling system that is popular in schools that allow cell phone use is Poll Everywhere. Poll Everywhere uses text messaging to receive responses to questions. The teacher would setup the questions before the lesson and then provide the text number for the students to respond to for the question during the presentation. The students then enter the answer and the results are displayed on the board. This system requires no major investment by the school for equipment or Internet access. It would be a great alternative if students are allowed to use their cell phones in the classroom at your school.
There are many other student response systems available for K-12 education including special needs students. It just takes a little bit of time and research to figure out what is the best fit for your classroom and school. It is definitely a tech tool that you should add to your wish list before the end of the school year!
Article by Laura Ketcham
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