Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Ten things to do with your (hopefully TurningPoint) Student Response System
So you are thinking about a student response system (or you already have one), and you are wondering if it is a good investment. You may have seen it in use at a conference and thought –
“This has possibilities in my school or classroom.”
But if you are looking for ideas; here we have my top ten out of the hundred or so uses for the Student Response System from TurningPoint.
1. Use the conditional branching tool to show a class based choose your own adventure story. This was one of the ways I got my year five boys into reading, “pick a path” and “choose your own adventure” stories. Using TurningPoint you can create these stories in a power point complete with multimedia, and the whole class chooses the direction of the story. The real power of this is when you get the student to write, collaborate and create their own. This lets them brainstorm and explore plots and characters rather than just complete a linear progression of draft, draft, final draft, good copy.
2. Collect data quickly for discussion of statistics, use the mean, mode, and variance tools to discuss what they mean. Statistics and measurements abound in our daily lives, so it is a good idea and is part of a maths program to discuss these measurements of statistics. Unfortunately sometimes gathering the data for this exercise takes up a large amount of time – I’ve seen a class go out and count cars in the car park and then count cars as they go past for a whole maths lesson. Using the SRS students can quickly produce data sets based on the answers from the peers in their class. This gets collected in seconds and the data analysis can be completed quickly and efficiently, giving more time to discuss what they mean and how they are calculated.
3. Facilitate peer teaching with paired questions that shows the difference between two answers. Jeffery Stanger is a great leader in the use of this technique, especially with student response systems like TurningPoint. By asking paired questions and using the peer instruction technique students can achieve a deeper understanding and therefore achieve better recall during assessment by being able to learn from and teach their peers.
4. Get the audience involved in a debate by using the moment to moment slide to do “the Worm”. As we will see during the year (in Australia) audience responses to public debates are very important to our politicians. Why not use that technology in a class or even interschool debate where your audience can feedback how effective the debaters are at persuading the audience to their point of view. The moderators and adjudicators can then use this information as part of their calculations of score for effectiveness. This can then be analysed through the report function so that the debaters can find areas to improve their delivery.
5. Use them at P+C meetings and parent/teacher nights to identify areas of concern and to celebrate positive programs in the school. Sometimes involving parents in the school community can be tough especially if you have a couple of dominant power players in the existing mix. By introducing TurningPoint to meetings and information nights the school gets honest and representative feedback from parents in a non threatening way that lets every parent have their say on an equal weight.
6. Teach time and project management by using the ranking wizard or the weighted response slides. Both of these tools can be used to help students manage projects and priorities both in their academic and personal lives
7. Use the system to have a “peoples vote” at events such as science fairs and exhibitions that the wider public are invited to. This engages the community around the school and gives them a feeling of inclusiveness in the school.
8. Put one keypad on each table at a fundraising quiz night and do all your questions through the system – with no marking and automatic leader boards it gives you more people to help in other aspects frees them completely to be part of the experience. I have helped with a range of these nights and both the audience and the committee members involved love the ease of use of the system. If you use the speed scoring you reduce the effect that the use of smart phones have on the outcome of the event.
9. NAPLAN (National numeracy and literacy tests for Australian students) test preparation and data gathering – pre test your students on last years NAPLAN test to find areas of concern and address them before the actual test. Using a student response system means you get the results instantly and can drill down to individual students or merge data sets to find whole cohort patterns. Using this technology can also reduce student (and teacher) test anxiety when the test comes around as the students are used to the format and the types of questions that they will encounter.
10. Prior knowledge probing – don’t just assume, ask. You may be surprised what your new batch of students know and don’t know. By using an SRS to gather data, you can work from their strengths and identify areas where concentrated instruction may be helpful. It’s also a great way for new students to get to know each other without singling students out. You can then use that data to form a profile of your class.
Like any tool in the classroom whether it be an IWB or a pencil, there are great ways to use a SRS such as TurningPoint, just as there are ways to use it badly that makes no real positive difference to the outcomes of the students. But I encourage you to use your creativity and your professional know how to get the most out of this technology that might just help you understand what is going on in their heads.