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Student-response Systems Offer Immediate Feedback

Oct 1, 2008 12:00 PM, By Linda Seid Frembes

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The TurningPoint AnyWhere software offers similar functionality as TurningPoint, but with the added the flexibility of allowing users to poll from content in any software application. The floating toolbar works in conjunction with popular web browsers, PDFs, and Microsoft Office, among others. In addition, the VantagePoint web-based analytics application is designed to measure performance, which is useful at the K-12 level where state and national standards must be met. “Our products really change the learning environment from passive to active,” Gant says. “Our devices allow schools to track individual students and produce meaningful reporting based on collected data.”

Student-input devices include ResponseCards which are approximately the size of a credit card. The company also introduced ResponseWare Web, a response system for any web-enabled mobile device such as a cell phone or PDA, in response to the growing number of mobile devices appearing in schools. Students can respond via the Internet through any web browser, and their responses are immediately transferred to a TurningPoint interactive polling slide that can be projected in the classroom. Discussion about the results are immediate.

For classrooms without a PC or a projector, the company has also debuted the ResponseCard AnyWhere, a portable handheld receiver with a small LCD screen that can be used with ResponseCard RF keypads. “The results show up on the receiver device’s screen,” Gant says. “Questions can be verbally given to the class or written on the board by hand.”

Although the emphasis for feedback and standards comparisons is prevalent in K-12, higher-education institutions also benefit from increased interaction. Gant notes that university classes are getting larger and larger, especially freshman 101 lectures and other entry-level classes. “Our system can be used for quick feedback or as a tool for discussion,” he says. “I’ve heard of professors who use our system to give short quizzes at the beginning of class as a way to encourage attendance.”

Student response systems also foster peer-to-peer learning where students can share their knowledge and work together to find the correct answer. “Students enjoy the immediate feedback. They like that they can test their own knowledge,” says Katherine Kahn, education and communications manager for Turning Technologies.

The company sells direct to schools but also works with a dealer network for the K-12 market. Turning Technologies often works with systems integrators and resellers for bundles and business referrals.

Moving forward, Gant says, there will be continued recognition that technology plays a critical role in keeping kids competitive in a global market. He notes that both presidential candidates are talking about education and education reform. “The popularity of empirical data systems will grow," he says. "The advantage is immediate grading at the click of a button and the reporting aspect versus standards.”

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