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.