One of the hottest technology items to hit the market for classrooms in recent years is the student response system that allows students to input answers via a remote control-like device. Personally, I love SMART Response -- it's easy, it integrates beautifully into SMART Notebook, there are different kinds of SMART Response intended for different grade levels/subject areas, and, let's face it, it's the one I've used the most!
But this isn't a blog post touting the different kinds of Response clickers and what ages each is most appropriate for. Instead, I thought I'd focus on practical applications for your classroom. Here are my top 10 uses for integrating SMART Response into your classroom:
1. Poll your students
- Obviously, one of the most flexible uses of this device. Have students anonymously share opinions on hot topics, Current Events, literature they've read, their views on the assignment/project you've completed...the list goes on and on. Interestingly enough, there have been several studies done showing the increase in the level of honesty when students use clickers vs. a pen and paper survey. Generally, it was the perception of true anonymity that led students to be more forthright with their opinions.
2. Embed "check-ups" within a lesson or activity
- Since Response is integrated into Notebook, it's easy to make check up questions periodically throughout your Notebook pages. Maybe you want to do a quick check for understanding after reading some information, learning a new concept or watching a video clip. To track individual responses, have your students log in at the start of class. It's a great way to flag who may need some extra one-on-one right from the beginning of a unit instead of having to wait until an assessment to realize that they didn't "get it".
3. Check for understanding on the fly
- Another formative assessment idea, similar to the tip listed above except you do not need to have prepared questions to ask. Use the "instant questions" option under the SMART Response tab to play around with check ups whenever you see the need in class. You can easily just verbalize a question, or write one on the SMART Board by hand, then select the question type from the tab, and voila!
4. Play "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" review game and allow for "ask the audience"
- There are a TON of review games that people have made for SMART Notebook, and Who Wants to be a Millionaire is one of them [check out the SMART Exchange for templates]. Regardless of whether you decide to create a sophisticated Notebook version of the game, or the age old poster board version, SMART Response clickers can be used to add some fun to the ask the audience lifeline.
5. Informal polling of peers during work time
- A twist on the idea above, students take control of the questions and polling. Perhaps you're encouraging active peer discussion for working through a problem or concept. Simply have students to come up to the board and write their own question with multiple choice answers if they get stuck. It's a great way for kids to take ownership of their work and learn to ask others for guidance.
6. Self check work
- You can change the feedback options in SMART Response so that a check mark or x will appear directly on the clickers right after students input an answer. I'd recommend making a practice exam in Notebook, then printing out a paper copy for students to work through at their own pace. If you change the feedback settings, students get immediate feedback and can self check their understanding, providing a platform for working back through and seeing where they need to focus improvement.
7. Use response data as authentic data for math class
- Bar graphs are an essential part of many elementary school math classes, but it's waaaay more fun if the data students analyze come from those they know. I remember doing surveys then plotting the answers in a bar graph and answering questions based on that visual. In today's tech world, it's easy for students to create the questions in Notebook using the Response tab, then have their peers respond via the clickers and insert the resulting bar graph or pie chart into a Notebook page.
8. Grading summative assessments
- Obviously, this is the first one that comes to most people's minds when they hear of SMART Response, and I'd argue that while it's not nearly the only application for the product, it still has some merit. If you're working in an environment that uses multiple choice exams as part of summative assessment, Response really shines. Not only does it do the grading quickly allowing you to provide your class with timely feedback, but it gives you valuable information that a traditional scantron doesn't. For example, if I've created a question where "A" is the correct answer, "B" is the attractive distractor, "C" is incorrect and "D" is way out in left field, I am not only interested in who gets the question right and wrong but also what incorrect answer the students chose. If the vast majority who got it wrong chose "B', then they're pretty close to being on the right track, and a few minor adjustments to understanding will help them be successful in the future. However, if a bunch of students chose "D" then there was probably a gap in either your teaching, the question, the amount of time spent on the topic or something else that led to your class not being even close in their understanding of the concept. This information is immediately available to you as soon as you end the assessment. So. Freaking. Valuable.
9. Predict the outcome of an experiment
- Just another way for students to express their opinions without risk of judgment by peers. I know many students whom have anxiety regarding committing to an answer publicly when there's a risk they'll be wrong. Soooo...prior to completing an experiment in Science (either as a whole class experiment or one done in small groups), utilize the clickers to chart out what outcomes students think will occur.
10. . Add some pizzazz to spelling tests
- My final use for Response requires the SMART Response XE or PE clickers, as they allow for a limited amount of character input. Spelling tests are used in many, many classrooms, often elementary, and rather than the same-old, same-old pen and paper style test, why not change it up a bit every now and then with a SMART Response spelling test? You could create blank questions with the Response tab in Notebook, and so long as the assessment is running on your computer, there is no need for it to be displayed on the SMART Board. Sometimes doing the same activity with a bit of a new twist is all that is needed to make students perceive the activity as being more fun. Why not use that to your advantage?
At any rate, I really feel that student response systems are here to stay and have numerous valuable uses in the classroom. These are just some of my ideas, but I'm sure there are many more! It really is as limitless as your imagination.