Tuesday, October 23, 2012

#TMGeelong & Web-based Audience Response Systems

Hey guys and welcome to another post from May the Tech Be With You!

On Saturday 20th October, I had the privilege of conducting the first presentation at the first TeachMeet Geelong. This presentation was held at Western Heights College (Vines Rd Campus) and organised by @MarkOMeara. The video can be seen after the brief explanation of what audience response systems are, how they work and how I use them in my classroom.

What are Audience Response Systems?

Audience response systems allow groups of people to provide an opinion on a topic or an answer to a question. Traditionally they required dedicated remotes, receivers and software, however its now much more accessible for all on the Web.

How do ARS work?

Traditionally, they required each person in the audience to have a remote that connects to a receiver, which in turn is connected to a database. Presenters would display a question to which the audience members would respond and the results would be displayed on the screen.

With the Web-based systems, all you need to do is set a question, topic prior to your class, ensure your students have access to a mobile device (whether it be a PC, laptop, iPad or web-enabled mobile phone).  They require the students to open a dedicated URL which will take them to the question/topic and they can then respond to the question or topic. The results are then displayed on the screen automatically in real time.

Benefits of ARS

  • Engaging for students
  • Automatic/instant feedback
  • Reports generated for each quiz
  • Multiple Choice quizzes can be automatically corrected
  • Cross Platform compatibility
  • Can inform our practice as teachers

Examples of ARS

Differences between Poll Everywhere & Socrative

·         Poll Everywhere
o   More appealing to younger student audience
o   Larger range of response types – not just web based
·         Socrative
o   More appealing to an older student audience
o   Better reporting package under the “free” account
§  Multiple choice responses are automatically created
o   Bulk importing of questions/answers

A slight warning
As with any new tool or tech, you will know that there can be downsides or conversations that you may need to have with your students. One such downside, with both of the tools that we have seen is that there is no filtering of the open ended response questions. They will simply come up on screen regardless of whether the student response is irrelevant or inappropriate.

Depending on the age of the students that you use this with will depend on the conversation that you have in relation to appropriate & responsible behaviour.

My use of ARS in the classroom...

Depending on the group that I have, I use either Socrative or Poll Everywhere. For my Year 9's I use Poll Everywhere, while with my senior students I use Socrative. I just find the interfaces appeal to their respective  audiences.

I have used both to do the following:

  • find out from each of my students a range of information including how they feel their learning is tracking, what progress they have made, whether they understand particular concepts, opinions on different topics...the list is endless
  • inform my practice using this information - if a number of students feel they weren't able to grasp a concept then usually we spend a bit of time at the start of the next lesson recapping
  • test my students as learning is taking place (formative assessment) as well as at the end of a unit (summative assessment)
I also feel that with these tools that I haven't even begun to scratch the surface with the amount of data that I have collected from them...

If you have any suggestions or uses of ARS, feel free to comment below!

The video!

Ok, so its nothing special...it's only my second "formal" presentation on ICT, and the first to those outside of my "home" school setting. It's fairly safe to say that I know that I have a fair way to go with regards to my presentation skills...feedback/suggestions/criticisms in the comments below please.

The video can be seen after the jump courtesy of Mark O'Meara. I wouldn't normally present in shorts however it was quite a warm day in Geelong not to mention a Saturday!

The next post will be coming soon...and will be a reflection on #TMGeelong.

As always...May the Tech Be With You!

Jimmy V

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