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How Your Educational Facility Can Benefit from Student Response Systems

by SUMMIT on August 18th, 2015

How Your Educational Facility Can Benefit from Student Response Systems

Technology and innovation find their way into all aspects of our lives. Education is particularly enriched by new ideas and the newest technology. And, while student response systems or SRSs aren’t necessarily a new technology in the field of education, a lot has changed in the way “classroom clickers,” as they are commonly known, are used in today’s classrooms. In this article, we’ll explore the benefits of student response systems and how to best incorporate this valuable teaching tool into your classroom.

What is a Student Response System?

An SRS is a wireless response system that enables students to respond to multiple-choice questions via a small hand-held device, which then sends the response to a receiver connected to the teacher’s computer. Software processes the students’ responses, and produces a visual representation of the answers in the form of charts and graphs. Teachers can make instructional choices and changes in direct response to answers given. This provides spontaneity, and enhances the concept of real-time learning, as students no longer have to wait to see if their answers were correct.

What are the Benefits of SRS?

Instructors traditionally use clickers to create interactive learning environments and encourage student participation. In fact, this approach is seen as a much better alternative to the age-old “show of hands” method, because with clickers teachers have the option to not disclose the identity of the students. This anonymity encourages shy or self-conscious students to feel more at ease participating in classroom discussions.

There are many other ways that an SRS can bolster student engagement and introduce new approaches to learning.

Attendance. Clickers allow teachers to take attendance with a simple question. The responses show how many students are present for a particular class, and teachers can also indirectly record attendance by seeing who used their clicker in class that day.

Assessment and feedback. As mentioned above, educators can provide real-time feedback to answers and open a discussion as to why certain responses were chosen—or not. The software also helps to track the progress of each student throughout an academic session. This gives instructors the opportunity to see if students need help with a particular subject during the semester.

Out-of-the-box learning. Studies show that most people’s attention starts waning after between 10 to 18 minutes of passive listening. SRSs can make learning more interesting for tech-driven, gadget-loving students. Clickers help students become more engaged and invested in their responses, and adds a level of excitement because the results are graphically displayed immediately. Learning involves more senses and keeps students interested.

Better participation. The anonymous nature of the process encourages all students to contribute to classroom discussions. Instructors can ask students why they chose a particular answer and provoke deeper discussion of the subject matter. Teachers can also use clickers to conduct a wide range of group tasks that enhance peer-to-peer interactions.

Idea generation. Good clicker questions can open new windows for discussion and ultimately lead to a richer learning experience. When a teacher poses a question and waits to let the class respond through their SRS, it allows every student time to think—about the question, as well as how they want to answer. Traditionally, a student would raise his or her hand and be called on to answer, which doesn’t motivate less-inclined students to think about their answers or voice opinions.

Performance tracking. Ending each class with similar evaluation questions can help teachers develop a much clearer understanding of how their class is performing. Plus, if many students answered a query the same way, but it was incorrect, it can shed light on areas where more reinforcement or clarity is needed, as well as enlighten educators about whether their teaching methods are actually working as well as they hoped.

How to Incorporate SRS into Your Teaching

Now that you can see all the advantages to teaching with a SRS, here are some best practices for incorporating the technology as part of the classroom routine.

Keep students engaged. Students can often appear to be attentive in class without really being fully engaged. For instance, a student might be busy taking notes or blindly copying everything that’s scribbled on the board, but that doesn’t mean he/she is enjoying the class or understanding or absorbing what is being said. You can insert SRS-facilitated questions at certain intervals in the lecture to check if everyone in the classroom is on the same page. This interactivity also helps prevent the boredom that can accompany listening to a long lecture.

Identify the common grounds of confusion. By asking specific questions on a topic, you can spot areas where students are struggling. You can work on these weak spots and reassess to check if comprehension has improved.

Introduce fun learning activities. You can make learning more interesting and appealing with the help of SRS-facilitated group sessions, quizzes, interactive projects or even what research professional, Russell James, calls “clicker wars” between two or more teams. Think ‘Jeopardy’ for the classroom.

Capitalize on mobility. SRS can be integrated with smartphones, tablets, and laptops, which can then be used as response keypads. This is a great way to engage the current generation of tech-savvy students who are extremely attached to their smartphones and other mobile devices.

Student response systems can open up a whole new way of teaching. They help students become more engaged, involved, and invested in learning. Teachers can also better assess the participation and progress of their students, as well as their teaching methods. The clicker brings the classroom into the 21st century and is just another example of how technology and innovation can benefit education.

Do you think student response system can create better classroom environment?

Photo Credit: ALSTech via Compfight cc

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