voting system

Free tool to help you to create an interactive classroom

Wednesday, September 25th, 2013 | education, Gadgets | Comments Off

Since the launch of the Beta version of Qurio at the annual African Education Week conference in June 2013, EDGE Campus has been hard at work in simplifying this tool even further.  More features have been added, making Qurio applicable to a wider audience.

The new Qurio will be launched towards the end of October 2013.

Can this tool help you to create an interactive classroom?

Can this tool help you to create an interactive classroom?

What is Qurio?  It’s a web based tool that simplifies audience interaction and data collection by allowing anyone to create and distribute digital tests, quizzes, opinion polls and surveys with ease.  EDGE Campus claims that, compared to the tools currently used for these purposes, the new Qurio is simpler to use and works across a wider range of devices.

Qurio has been made freely available to all school teachers; in addition it’s making steady headway into the lecture environment where it is being trialled on a number of campuses as a virtual clicker/audience response system.

Lectures, events, conferences, workshops: none of these have to be one dimensional any longer. Owing to Qurio’s low data consumption and ease of access via any internet connected device, speakers can easily interact with their audiences and receive instantaneous feedback.

A unique Qurio Code distribution system links each respondent to a particular Qurio through either a URL, or a short code.  This makes Qurio well suited for digital and non-digital communication environments, such as print, radio and television. It’s just a matter of sharing the code with the audience, either by writing it on a blackboard, putting it up on a screen or sending it out via email or social media.

EDGE Campus has created additional resources to assist users in understanding how it works.  “We realized that eyes light up when folks see how simple it is to use Qurio. Because we haven’t completed our demo-mode yet, we decided to create some explainer videos and a few documents to show people how awesome it is without having to sign up and trying it for themselves,” says the developer.

While their passion lies in education, EDGE Campus realizes the value that Qurio can add to a host of other fields and they encourage anyone who may be interested to give it a try.

If you want to find out more about Qurio go to their Keep It Simple website, where you will also be able to sign up to be notified of the October launch.

You can connect with EDGE Campus on Twitter (@edge_campus) or on Facebook (EDGECampusHQ) or send an email if you require further information (info@edgecampus.co.za).

[This is a guest post, written by Gareth Heuer of EDGE Campus.]

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Will clickers make your classroom interactive?

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013 | education, technology | Comments Off

Clickers – also called voting devices – allow learners in a classroom to respond simultaneously to questions posed by their teacher.  Some teachers use cell phones (already in the pockets of learners) for the same purpose.  It is claimed that harnessing technology in this way results in an interactive classroom.

How does it work?  The teacher asks a question – typically a multiple choice one – and allows learners to use a clicker or cell phone to select the correct answer.  The results are collated and if a data projector is available, a graph can be displayed immediately, showing how many selected the correct answer.

Clickers can be a useful continuous assessment tool in classrooms.  But does the use of this technology transform the classroom into an interactive one?  Not necessarily.

A graph showing learner responses

A graph showing learner responses

The mere fact that children interact with a piece of technology does not guarantee that they are interacting with the learning material.  When the teacher displays the results graph and learners see whether they were right or wrong, and how many in the class were right or wrong, this also does not guarantee interaction; it is the same as handing a marked test paper back to learners.

But when the teacher uses the information gained from the voting exercise to reason with the learners, interactivity can happen.  For example, she may ask those learners who chose the wrong answer for the reasons for their choice.  Likewise, she can ask the learners who chose the correct answer to defend their choice.  In this way a lively discussion between learners will be triggered, with the teacher guiding the discussion so that the learners can draw correct conclusions.  Now we have an interactive classroom!

The value of technology in this case is that of a catalyst for interactivity.  In the same way as certain chemicals act as catalysts to let other chemicals react with one another, voting devices can spark off interactivity.  Interactivity happens between learners and learners, between learners and the teacher, and between learners and the learning material.  The technology is only the catalyst, but all depends on how the teacher uses it!

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Of what value is a voting system in my classroom?

Tuesday, December 21st, 2010 | technology | 1 Comment

Once you’ve introduced basic technology – a computer, a data projector and perhaps an interactive whiteboard – into your classroom you may feel the time is ripe to add other technologies.  One of them is a voting system – also called a response system.

A voting system is ideal for continuous assessment, but it can do far more for you.  Let’s look at a few ways in which a voting system adds value in your classroom:

An entire class can interact simultaneously when clickers are in use – no more passive observers in the classroom!  You’ll receive responses from each child in the class, not only from those who are always first to put up their hand!

Assessment becomes an integral part of each lesson – pause and ask a question to determine if the learners are still with you.  This serves a dual purpose: learners consolidate learning while you use the information to direct your teaching in a more effective way.

Some learners are shy and hardly ever take part in class discussions.  Anonymous responses via the clickers make it easier for them to participate.

A big portion of examination papers in some subjects are in the form of multiple choice questions.  Learners who have difficulty with this assessment mode gain valuable experience when you use a voting system throughout the year.

Most voting systems provide you with detailed learner response information.  If voting units are assigned to particular learners, you will be able to see the response of each child.  This information can be stored and used to build up a year mark. In addition, it enables you to identify which learners need more assistance.

If you’re brave and you really want to know how your learners experience your teaching, ask a question such as: “Give me a mark out of 10 for today’s lesson.”  You may be surprised to learn how your learners feel about your lessons!

The real magic of a voting system is that learner response results are available immediately – no more waiting for answer sheets to be collected and no more marking!

For more technology tips for teachers click here.

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How can I use a voting system in my classroom?

Tuesday, December 21st, 2010 | technology | 4 Comments

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 …

 

              A   mammal

              B   amphibian

              C   fish

              D   reptile

 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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How much value does a voting system add to my interactive whiteboard?

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010 | IWBs | 3 Comments

One of the limitations of an interactive whiteboard is the fact that only one person can work on it at a time.

But this limitation is removed when you add a voting system – also called a response system – to your interactive whiteboard.  Here are a few ways in which a voting system adds value in an interactive classroom:

Each learner is allowed to interact simultaneously through the use of technology – no more passive observers in the classroom.

Assessment becomes an integral part of each session – a lesson can be paused to ask a question to determine if the learners are still with you.  This serves a dual purpose: learners consolidate learning, and you can use the information to direct your teaching in a more effective way.

Anonymous responses make it easier for shy learners to participate – this is particularly useful when asking opinion questions.

If you really want to know how your learners experience your teaching, ask a question such as: “Give me a mark out of 4 for today’s lesson.”  You may be surprised to learn how your learners feel about your lessons!

A big portion of an examination paper in some subjects may be in the form of multiple choice questions.  Learners who have difficulty with this assessment mode gain valuable experience when you use a voting system throughout the year.

Most voting systems provide you with detailed learner response information.  If voting units are assigned to particular learners, you will be able to see the response of each child.  This information can be stored and used to build up a year mark.

The real magic of all of this is that learner response results are available immediately – no more waiting for answer sheets to be collected and no more marking!

Click here for more information about interactive whiteboards.

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What is a voting system?

Monday, January 25th, 2010 | IWBs, technology | 5 Comments

A voting system – also called a response system – consists of a set of handheld voting devices, which look like simplified remote control units of a TV set.  Learners in a class receive one of these units each to “vote” or respond to questions put to them by you, their teacher.

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 information about the way learners respond.

Let’s use an example.  You want to test if learners have done their reading assignment at home, and you display the following question on the interactive whiteboard:

 The legislative capital of South Africa is …

 A   Bloemfontein
 B   Cape Town
 C   Pretoria
 D   Johannesburg

Buttons marked A, B, C, D are on the clicker, 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.

Immediately after 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 Cape Town: it is now clear to you that not all the learners in the class understand the work, and gives you the opportunity to enter into a discussion with the class to lead them to the correct information.

In addition to multiple choice questions, most voting systems permit true-or-false questions as well.  More sophisticated systems allow numeric and limited text responses, giving you the opportunity to ask other types of questions.

Voting systems can be used without an interactive whiteboard, but the combination of these two technologies provides you with a powerful tool to create an interactive classroom.

Click here for more information about interactive whiteboards.

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