05 March 2006

Such a Tease

I got to see a really cool demo of this product on Friday: Quizdom. It's a "personal response system" that has many uses.

From their website:

Qwizdom's Remote Audience Response System lets you communicate with every individual and each one of them with you! Everyone in the room is given a remote, which sends a response to the instructor immediately. Instructors can then take the electronically gathered information and make informed decisions as to where to guide the discussion or meeting. Polls can be taken, tests can be graded and reports can be generated - all with the press of a button. Using Qwizdom’s versatile software, you can easily create dynamic presentations, quizzes, and games. If you want to add interactivity to your existing materials, Qwizdom now integrates with Microsoft PowerPoint® and ExamView® files.

Now with the press of a button, instructors can privately view response graphs, view the names of students who requested help, and clearly see if some students need more time. With the innovative Qwizdom Q5 Instructor Remote, student responses are shown in many forms. Rating scale responses can be seen showing the average and most frequent response types. True/false, yes/no and multiple choice answers are displayed on a private bar graph. Other question types show various graphs, as well.

What teacher wouldn't want a set of these? Our district now has two classroom sets...for 800 teachers. I suppose the "cheaper" route to go would be to require students (i.e. families) to purchase a remote ($50 each) and then use them in all of their classes. But I think we already stretch families' budgets for a supposedly "free and public education." Each classroom would need a remote for the teacher, rf receiver, and software ($525 each). Oh---and batteries. So, if the district wanted to outfit classrooms, they're looking at $2200 each. Ouch.

The terrible thing about these systems, along with document cameras, LCD projectors, and other technological innovations is that they're expensive. Everytime I go to one of these product demos, I feel like I'm just being teased. Here's this engaging tool to use with students...something that gives teachers instant feedback (and will even grade exams and record them in the gradebook)...and it's just going to be out of reach.

Some districts in the area are starting to float "technology levies" for voters as a means to get a large pool of money specifically for buying smartboards, response systems, projectors, and more. I wonder if that might be a good idea for us, too.


Richard Quick, Millionaire said...

I use this system in my live wealth-building seminars. They are a wonderfully engaging tool. We play a gameshow "Who wants be a millionaire?" Only so many can participate but it livens it up for everyone. They're only a few thousand bucks so they pay for themselves in one seminar. Love your site! Richard

Christine said...

I'm piloting a set right now. We have 3 sets in our district. The 6 elementary schools share one set. The 2 upper elem/middle schools share a set and the high school gets one set. We're using Interwrite, and I have no idea how much they cost.

They're really cool, and the kids like using them. Before every test, I give my kids a study guide. Many of my struggling students simply will not complete it, no matter how I beg, explain that it will help them on the test, etc. Before the last test, I told the kids that whoever finished the study guide on time would use the PRS clickers as a review and the rest would have to finish the study guide in class.

While it wasn't perfect, I had more kids complete their study guides than ever before. It's also really great just to see who gets what and who doesn't. The best thing I like about them is the chance to discuss why the kids pick specific answers. We've written a grant to get a set for each of our teams.

The Science Goddess said...

I'm SO jealous! I hope you'll share more about your experiences.