Here’s some technology that’s proving useful in the classroom: Teachers can get instant feedback on students’ ability to answer questions.

At Upper Merion High School, students grab their assigned remotes – each remote is numbered so the teacher has a record of responses – as they enter Peter Vreeland’s college-prep physics class.

When a multiple-choice question is displayed on a big screen, the students aim their remotes at a receiver at the front of the room and punch a button on the keypad.

With a click, Vreeland can tally the answers to see how well the students absorbed the lesson.

“It is a serious instructional tool,” Vreeland said. “You can be much more diagnostic if you use it to find out where we’re at and what we need to fix.”

The remotes go over well with students, too.

Using the remote “enhances each class,” said Jason Knox, 18, a senior. “You’re not just listening – you are participating.”

Senior Mike Neufer, 18, said the quizzes generate discussion in which the whole class can participate. “You discuss why different people think it might be this answer or that one,” he said.

The systems are being used everywhere from kindergarten to college to training sessions aboard nuclear subs.

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  1. Mike in Texas says:

    This is an excellent instructional tool I wish every classroom could be equipped with. It does everything the article says it does and more. Unfortunately at around $2000 a pop, plus another grand or so for a digital projector they are out of reach for most classrooms. I was fortunate enough to win one from EInstruction at a technology teacher’s conference and I love it.

  2. Walter E. Wallis says:

    Every administraterwe get rid of is ten classrooms equipped? Gee, we’ll miss them

  3. I’ve got to ask – is there really such a difference between this and just having people raise their hands? That’s what we did in my classes when we decided to try “physics by democracy”.

  4. Walter E. Wallis says:

    I suspect keeping a record of the individual answers and eliminating the shyness factor are two advantages.

  5. Mike in Texas says:

    is there really such a difference between this and just having people raise their hands?

    There’s a lot of other neat things the software can do. For example, it can produce 4 different versions of a test, with scrambled answers to boot, so students are denied the opportunity to cheat. There are also some neat games that go along with it that students really enjoy