I am not sure how many people are using these in a K-12 environment but at the university level thay are being used to good effect. They allow teachers to see (more or less) how they are doing, as they teach, by giving students the opportunity to answer questions throughout the lecture. The ability to quickly survey knowledge can help determine (on the fly) how the content needs to be adjusted.

My experience, having been on both ends of the SRS is that; as a student with a clicker, well posed questions make you feel and become more engaged. As a teacher they let you know how you are doing, which is very reassuring.

Clickers used with a interactive whiteboard, the web and streaming audio/video are a powerful (and fun) way to communicate knowledge.

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I am interested in using these in my classroom - could you lead me in the direction of a set that works for you. Any idea of a ballpark $$ amount? I have no idea.
Thanks so much I will follow this lead - it gives me a good starting point - if you know of any others - let me know
thanks
Joanne
We purchased a set of 32, which includes the infrared receiver and teacher remote contol for $975.00. The brand we purchased is manufactured by Qomo and is distributed by City Animation in Michigan.

I use them often in my classroom and my students love using them. Which is saying a lot, as my kids come from 7 school distircts in our two-county intermediate school district and were labeled as "unteachable" by their home school districts. Phooey I say to that!.

Here is its website and Kevin Gibson (kgibson@cityanimation.com) is the sales representative I have worked with over the past couple of years. Great company and excellent CRS's! Please feel free to mention to Kevin that I referred you....

http://www.cityanimation.com/default.asp

City Animation
Troy Headquarter Office
57 Park Drive
Troy, Michigan 48083-2753
Ph: (248) 589-0600
Fx: (248) 589-2020
Tol: (800) 872-8295
I guess the key is "well posed" questions.

Do you ever worry that clickers create a superficial level of engagement, with students just listening to get the cues to click something? That the questions you ask may end up being tailored to the yes/no or multiple choice nature of the clicker, rather than having a more in-depth discussion?
Good point, Sylvia. (and oh my gosh, you have been cloned in this section, due to some sort of ning bug!--)
One thing I'd add is that I do this sort of class survey often, as gerry said, to "quickly survey knowledge." Only I do "feelings" too, and do it non-technologically (I stole it from the techno-world and turned it primitive). When I'm wondering what the kids know, think, or feel about something and would like quick feedback, I state the question and give a continuum for the answers, from 1-10. Kids "vote" by using their hands in front of them with the number of fingers out that correspond to the answer.
For example, I'd say, "How confident are you feeling with these skills I just presented? One means not at all, 10 means really confident. 5 is half-and-half." then we go "One, two, three," and each person displays his or her answer. It takes about a minute for me to get an impression.
Note that this is more teacher-focused than class display focused; it's a tool for me to get knowledge I need for what happens next. The kids like doing this, and respect that there's usually quite a range on every question.
Thanks, gerrry, for pointing out a useful feedback technique! I find that using it often makes it natural; just one of those things we do in class.
I couldn't agree more here, Sylvia. Again- a decent tool in the hands of someone who can create a powerful environment. Certainly not the end-all-be-all for someone who cannot.
;-)
I guess the key is "well posed" questions.

Do you ever worry that clickers create a superficial level of engagement, with students just listening to get the cues to click something? That the questions you ask may end up being tailored to the yes/no or multiple choice nature of the clicker, rather than having a more in-depth discussion?
One point that would like to make is this, any form of student engagement is an opportunity. There are classes that I need to teach very hard to engage students. Any lever or advantage I can gain in this endeavor is to the good. Your points on well posed questions are great, but, if on a given day if you don't have that perfect question or a very teachable moment occurs; having a "yes or no" survey question in hand can still be very useful and engaging, and suprisingly lead to that more in depth discussion we all long for.
We are being given these systems to use in the coming year. I think they are terrific, especially with secondary. My only problem is that I currently teach 4 and 5 year-olds, so I think it will take quite a bit of brainstorming before we find ways to use them regularly.
Honestly Martha I think you will find that they work with any age group. If you are going to have the kids touch the board you will have to think about the setup given their diminutive stature. Be sure that your tech person downloads the full gallery file. There are tons of cool things there to use with kids. Also check out some of the resource files at the smart ed site. The lessons are pre alligned to most if not all state standards, many include accessments to be used with the Senteo. If you are from Ohio we are conducting state wide Smartboard trainings both face to face and via IVDL that you can take advantage of, they are being underwritten by a grant from the Martha Holden Jennings foundation.
Our district looked into SRS last year. We have some SRSs in our district that teachers and buildings have written grants for. We did a little "bake off" where vendors came and did a half hour gig on their product -- to get a better idea of what product(s) would be "best".

Senteo (SMART) --> Works within the SMART Notebook software - better for formative assessment
Turning Point --> good for instant feedback -- the least expensive (not as robust)
EduTec --> Great but very expensive

We found out that maybe having 2 options for our district would good because elementary teachers wanted instant feedback while secondary teachers wanted the option to do formative assignment (tests/quizzes).

Some random thoughts

Benefits of SRSs:
-Instant feedback
-Lets you know if your class understands the concept INSTANTLY. If everyone gets it right..well move on! If 1/2 the class gets it wrong then spend more time!
-Anonymous

I don't know about your districts but in our district teachers still use PowerPoint and love it (because they know it :) ) and they want to use their PowerPoints in the SRS software. Senteo (SMART) let's you go into PowerPoint and adds a little icon in it and it works in PowerPoint (along with their Notebook Software). Turning Point allows PowerPoint integration.

The bake off was awhile ago so I can't remember specifics. Prices ranged from hmm..I'm really really doing a ballpark estimate here... ranged from $650-$1,300. Turning Point being the cheapest, Senteo in the middle and Edu Tec at the high end. Of course buying several SRS at once you could get a discount and buying one would be more. And remember that was a total ballpark estimate!!
I am a big fan of the senteo because of the feedback they give you on the device screen. They let you know when you are in the class, how you are doing, and when the quiz is finished. They are also very good for scoring as you can export the results of a quiz to an XLS or HTML file. In version 10 of the smartboard software they have a nice (even better) interface with the notebook tool bar. I think, while the senteo do work with PowerPoint they are a bit klunky: they work much better in Notebook. While I don't have much experience with turning point they do seem to be a better fit with PowerPoint than the senteo.

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