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New technology gives instant student feedback

March 23, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Technology is making a big difference in four Orange County classrooms. Students are using keypads to participate in class. Staying connected is helping their grades.When teacher Scott Williams poses a question in his 6th grade class he knows right away how students are answering, not just with a show of hands, but with the click of a button.

"It's great," said Williams. "The kids are engaged constantly. I'm able to know where they're at instantly."

The technology is called TurningPoint Student Response System. Each child has a responder, allowing Williams' 27 students to input an answer when he asks a question on the big screen.

"I think you pay attention a lot more," said student Brandon Knohl.

"It lets me know who has answered and who hasn't answered," said Williams.

Williams can also look at the percentage of correct answers. If it's low, he knows he may have to go over that topic again.

Students say for shy classmates, answering on a keypad makes it easier to participate.

"They don't have to go up in front of classroom answer question. They get to know what they got and no one else has to know what they got," said student Regan Schmid.

"Instead of waiting almost a day to get your papers back, you get it immediately," said Brandon Knohl.

Four classrooms at Villa Park Elementary School are equipped with the technology. Each responder costs about $50. Add in the other software, and it costs about $1,200 per classroom. Williams received grants to cover the cost.

Williams has used TurningPoint for nearly three years. He says he's watched students' grades improve.

"Up to 15 percent better. That's a grade and a half. It's a big jump," said Williams.

Williams calls it another tool to help get through to children. Many students say it makes them work harder knowing when they score in the top of the class. It's there for all to see.


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