Tuesday, December 21st, 2010 | technology
Continuous assessment is an important aspect of teaching – but it is not easy to involve all learners in a class, particularly in large classes. A voting system – also called a response system – may come to your rescue. The system consists of a set of handheld voting devices. The voting device looks like a simplified remote control unit of a TV set. Each learner in the class receives one of these units to “vote” or respond to questions.
The units are called clickers, since input is provided by clicking buttons to select chosen responses. The clickers are wireless and operate with infrared or radio signals. Special software installed on your computer receives these signals and interprets them, providing you with instant information about the way learners respond.
Let’s use an example. You want to test if learners understand what you’ve just explained to them, and you ask the following question:
A shark is a …
The clicker has buttons marked A, B, C and D, and you now ask learners to enter the correct answer. Each child clicks an answer – the moment the selection is made, the computer receives and records the signal. The system informs you when all the learners in the class have responded.
Once all responses have been collated, a summary of the responses is available – which you may or may not wish to show to the class. Let’s say 60% of the class voted for mammal: it is now clear to you that not all the learners in the class understand your lesson – they may be confused between a shark and a whale. This gives you the opportunity to enter into a discussion with the class to lead them to the correct information. In a technology rich classroom you can even link to the internet and show them examples of sharks and whales and help them to see the difference.
In addition to multiple choice questions, most voting systems also permit true-or-false questions. More sophisticated systems allow numeric and limited text responses, giving you the opportunity to ask other types of questions.
A voting system is a powerful continuous assessment tool – its use will certainly enhance your teaching.
For more technology tips for teachers click here.
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