I started using clickers this year in my middle school math classes. The students love them and so do I; however, it takes some work to make the interactive slides. Help! I need tips and suggestions to make the use of these tools easier for me.
Depending on the brand (I'm pretty sure eInstruction is the only brand) of student responders you have, you might be able to use the ExamView software that comes with many textbooks to create your lessons. It's instant and makes creating lessons a snap. If you don't have the right brand, I would suggest making all your slides in PowerPoint first, saving your slides as jpegs, and using those to create your lesson slides. I do a lot of those kinds of things using PowerPoint because you can manipulate your images, text, etc. so easily there. It also gives you the ability to be a little more creative with your slides since you can include pictures, clip art, charts, graphs, and different backgrounds and fonts.
Our district began purchasing TurningPoint kits several years ago and after seeing many other audience/student response systems, I am glad that is what we went with. TurningPoint is simply a plug-in for PowerPoint so there was virtually nothing new to learn.
Teachers use the clickers in a number of different ways. Some will insert question slides within a lecture presentation, such as after a DE streaming video clip or several slides on one particular aspect of a topic. Teachers also use the interactive slides as quiz and test grades. The kits get the heaviest usage near the time of our state tests (Virginia SOLs). With TurningPoint you can attach your state standards to slides, after a presentation a report can be printed showing results by standard so teachers know where to concetrate review efforts. (These reports can also be created by question or student.) TurningPoint also will parse premafde questions from Word or ExamView so you don't have to start from scratch. You can add images to slides. You can also use graphics of most types (images, graphs, charts, clip art) as answer choices - great for elementary students learning letter sounds, numbers, colors, etc.
Our department has the clickers from eInstruction. My students love them. We often play review games with them. I set up a "class" with 25 celebrity names. Students pick their clicker number based on the celeb they want to be that day. When we're usig the celeb class, the info is only for review. When my students have their own name up for attendance with the clickers, the following activity counts as a quiz grade in the gradebook.
Often I'll have 10 minutes left at the end of class period and will get the clickers out for a review. Since I have nothing prepared, I use the verbal question option and normally say multiple choice questions with 3 options. My students find these off the cuff review games just as useful as the ones that I plan out.
One thing to remember is that the first time you use any new technology in your lessons, it takes a lot of time to prepare, but you'll have those files for next year's lessons. If you are looking for a way to save time and your sanity, don't think that you need to do everything right now. Prepare a lesson a week for the clickers if that is all the time you have. Next year, add another activity for that week. Keep building. Eventually you'll have a stockpile of lessons/activities you can use.
Sharing is good, too. In each of our middle schools we have two teachers of each subject. Often they will each create a lesson and share it with the other. In our elementary schools the teachers in one grade level will divvy up who will do the science, math, social studies and English lessons (usually based on what is their own strong subject) and then share with the whole grade. Using this approach the teachers create for one subject and get lessons for each of the other subjects in return - everyone benefits.
Up until the middle of last year (when I shifted countries) I had a class set of eInstruction clickers (PRS) for 3 years. My students and I love them! Maths would be one of our most favourite times to use the clickers. We often played a game of Jeopardy at the end of the week - which the students thought was fantastic, competitive and a great way to end the week. Little did they know that I was actually "testing" their knowledge, logical thinking skills and problem solving skills as well as the ability to work as an individual or as a team. If you are interested, here's a wiki set up by the company that supplies the Interwrite equipment to schools around NZ - you may find some ideas there on using the PRS clickers in your classroom: http://clickercasestudies.wikispaces.com/
If you would like to email me at teaching.sagittarian[@]gmail.com, I'd be happy to send you all of my Jeopardy PRS files (which will work if you use the eInstruction software - previously Interwrite).
As the year progressed, I let the students come up with a variety of suitable questions so that I all I had to do was change my master copy. If you use another brand of clickers you can still use the Jeopardy powerpoint file in tandem with your clicker software.
Of course the Jeopardy game or the "Who wants to be a Millionaire Game" can be used in any subject area.
Yes it was. Thanks David. I guess my paste didn't work and now I can't edit. Thanks again. I think the piece will be helpful for those who want to enjoy the features of clickers without having to buy them or lug them around :)
For all inquiring about clickers; I know of, and have used as a student, H-ITT Clickers. I was so interested in the product and it's student interaction enhancement, that I downloaded the free software and learned all about how it works. H-ITT allows you to integrate with you ANY teaching style. You can simply use a float-on-top toolbar that can hover over ANY program you are using, or you can open Word, PowerPoint, Excel.. pretty much any program you use to write your lectures or questions on, can be opened in their software. Within the software, you display your content (you can scroll through PPT slides that you create, or already have created in PPT), then simply press a green start button, receive responses, then the red stop button, and a graph shows up with real-time feedback. Then go analyze it student-by-student in their Analyzer software. Their software is all free, and they even have a question generator that is so easy to use - you just type in your question, copy and paste your question, or import content to create a question set and it imports right into the classroom response software.
Depending on what type of Clicker you have, content can certainly be difficult to display. I can only speak for what I have used; H-ITT and eInstruction and it seems that H-ITT is really the most simple because you don't have to change the way you teach; their Clickers are simply just a supplement to the way you already teach. Not to mention, go do some price comparisons and you'll see that H-ITT is a FRACTION of the cost of the other Clickers... now don't ask me why on that one!!
I hope every teacher someday uses Clickers in their classroom because it really is such an enhancement to student's education. I know first hand.
For more info on H-ITT, go to www.h-itt.com or contact me anytime, and I can get anyone set up with a representative who I know can get you a free 60-day demo with full-time support.
Some elementary schools in my district are using eInstruction SRS (with ExamView) which works OK. But, most of them are using AClicks by Dukane. AClikcs are a little more user friendly for elementary campuses. Our middle schools are using Quizdom which is by design more appropriate for their student population.
I have been using Qwizdom clickers in my classroom for the past 3 years. The new Qwizdom Connect software and teacher Q7 keypad (which also is a wireless tablet!) is great. You can pose questions on the fly or build dynamic lessons that maximize student participation. Qwizdom is also nice because of the gaming features that are built in-your entire class can race cars around a track while answering questions or play Jeopardy. Qwizdom can also be used in a "test mode" where students answer questions on a worksheet or in a textbook and Qwizdom records their answers. The possiblities are endless with this system. This system is not for the teacher looking for quick and easy presentation lessons-you really want to create materials specific for what you teach, but planning lessons is what we as teachers do so that shouldn't be an issue.