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cheap computers (not verified)

Large-Screen Digital Projectors

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I think that's not a bad size, but the screen measures 20 inches by 25 inches or so. That's still not a great improvement for someone who isn't sitting near the front.

Jim Moulton (not verified)

"Audience Response

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"Audience Response Technology?" So I am to read this as "students as audience?" Is this not a reinforcement of the "sage on the stage" educators have been trying to move away from in order to support the development of critical 21st century skills? Okay... Sure... I have been known to say that "teaching is theater," but I guess I had a more improvisational theater in mind. When I think about technology in the classroom I hope for a more robust, more active, and more level playing field, where teachers and students "meet in the middle as learners..." So help me understand. Please extend these stories to show that the use of these tools (which to me feel troublingly close to our current reality show insistence on "making our vote count NOW") is embedded in a truly interactive, rich learning experience. It may be PBL, service learning, community connected, or otherwise, but please provide the bigger picture and the role this tool plays in that bigger picture. I am hoping that they are being used as a way to efficiently, quickly, and surely "get hold of factual content" so that the class can move on to doing something important, real, and purposeful with that knowledge. As Paul Harvey would say, it's time to hear, "The rest of the story..." *And as a sidebar, I would suggest we begin using the term "interactive whiteboard" as opposed to "smart board." Smart Technologies is one of a growing number of companies that produce this type of tool, and each has software with different capabilities. Beware in the age of open source the acceptance of a single source... ;-}
Susannah Finley (not verified)

In response to Peggy's

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In response to Peggy's comment on "audience response technology": The University of Tennessee has completed a pilot study on "personal response systems". Clicker Technology at UT Knoxville An excerpt from the site: "In the Fall of 2005, UT Knoxville's Office of Information Technology (OIT) conducted a Pilot Study on the use of personal response systems, called 'clickers,' in the classroom. The study was conducted with eInstruction's CPSrf system... Clicker technology use varied among faculty from taking attendance at the beginning of class, to asking recall, processing, or application questions, to polling student opinions on controversial issues... Preliminary student survey data indicates an overall satisfaction with the use of clickers in the classroom. All but one (1) of the clicker pilot faculty plan to continue using clickers in the spring, including implementing more interactive strategies."
Jeff Jewett (not verified)

Our school's social studies

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Our school's social studies department is fortunate in that it has access to both the Smart Board and "audience response technology". The Smart Board has been a tremendous addition to the presentation of our lessons as it allows Powerpoints to come "alive" and can be utilized for so many uses. The "audience response technology" we use is the system developed by eInstruction and is called the Classroom Performance System (CPS). I used CPS during the past year and was amazed at all the advantages. I used in my AP class as well as my academically challenged class. The major pluses included: 1) Allowed feedback from every student simultaneously while being totally anonymous. Students that were shy or worried about embarrassing themselves could participate freely. 2) Became a new method to administer quick check-up or reading assignment quizzes. The best part of the system allows item analysis instantly. Students didn't have to wait until the next day to get their quizzes back and teachers could see immediately which concepts the students were grasping and which ones needed more work. 3) Also has two review game options which my students went "nuts" over. Highly recommend looking into such systems. They are a tad expensive but well worth it provided one looks into all the features available.
Anita Harris (not verified)

A laptop or computer plugged

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A laptop or computer plugged into a larger screen tv helps a lot. I prefer the Smart Boards. With them at least you are able to have all students view what you are projecting without the worry of no one being able to see it. It also provides you with tools to assess what you are teaching by taking a snapshot of key points and later printing to pass out to your students. As far as the "audience response technology" devices mentioned above, these are handheld interactive devices that provide students more hands-on. The ones we are using are made by Quizdom and are very easy to use. Also, there are various learning games on the system that directly correlates to the standards of your state. That way the students are actively engaged using something that interests them and learning at the same time. Teachers need to remember to use these handheld interactive devices throughtout the year for retention of knowledge purposes and not wait until testing time at the end of the year.
Peggy Benton (not verified)

This comprehensive post on

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This comprehensive post on projectors is really helpful. Most teachers only have one or two computers in a class and need to project a video or their one copy of a program to the class. Unfortunately many schools only have one projector, so actual use in the classroom is pretty infrequent. Some teachers are adding smart boards or white boards as well so they can write on the screen. I have recently seen a number of devices for students called "audience response technology" which allow each student to hold a unit the size of an ipod and click on answers during a presentation or test. I wonder if anyone is using these units when they teach and can comment on their usefulness.
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Jim Moulton Technology Integration and Project-Based Learning Consultant