Posts Tagged Interactive

Student Response System Showdown

The thought of getting 100% student participation throughout your lessons probably seems unrealistic, and at times even impossible. After all, you have that group of students that dominate classroom discussions, while others are too shy to speak up. Don’t forget about the ones who think they know the right answer, but the risk of getting it wrong outweighs their desire to participate. With student response systems, EVERY child has a voice and the opportunity to participate in a nonthreatening environment. It also doesn’t hurt that in addition to the empowerment that the students feel, the teacher is gaining valuable assessment data through quality, engaging lessons. Plain and simple, it is a win-win situation.

How can I use a response system in my class?

The possibilities are endless when it comes to a student response system.  Many get stuck in the mindset that response systems can only be used for test reviews, which could not be further from the truth.  In fact, that would be an incredible waste of a system.

Visit Vanderbilt’s Center for Teaching for a list of activities and examples.

Which response system do I choose?

Of course you would ask this, after all it is the golden question.  It truly depends on your individual situation.  Do you currently have a SMART or Promethean board?  If so, I would strongly consider going with the response system that correlates with your board.    Are you a data king or queen?  To those of you that answered yes, I would suggest a CPS system, as they have the most comprehensive reporting options.  Do you by chance teach at the secondary level?  If this is the case, I would encourage you to choose either the Promethean Activexpressions or SMART Response XEs, as these have texting capabilities.

Check out the comparison chart below to help you arrive at a decision.
Student Response Systems Chart

Click here to download a pdf version of this document.

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“Blab” Reports!

I need to start this post off with a confession: I got a B in Chemistry when I was in high school…and I’m not a B kind of guy.  I didn’t get a B because I tried hard and just wasn’t a science person, I got a B because I had a great lab partner.  I just didn’t like the class.  Now, I loved the experiments…totally my personality to test things out, make things explode, tear stuff apart (my wife HATES that), but I just didn’t understand the need for those ridiculous lab reports!


I hated them!  I honestly didn’t know why I even did them…I would turn one in, the teacher would put some grade on it, give it back to me,and then it was organized in two ways: (1) I crammed it deep into the abyss of my backpack or (2) I stealthily placed it in the trashcan on my way out.  I never seemed to get the connection that I really needed to be learning from each of these experience (something I now realize as an adult and educator), and since I never held on to them, I wasn’t able to evaluate my learning at the end of the year.

My guess is that if you walked into the average high school Chemistry class today, you would find a room FULL of students just like I was.  Good kids, smart kids…they just don’t get the need for a lab report (or any other report for that matter).  But what if there was a way to make things like lab reports more interactive, something that could use pictures, videos, a more, while also being easily kept in order for looking back on?  Well…there is!  Blogs are your solution!


Many of you probably know what a blog is, but just to me sure we are all on the same page, here is a brief synopsis:

  • Blog = online web log (kind of like a journal)
  • Blogs are ordered sequentially
  • Blogs are electronic and therefore can have things like pictures, videos, and hyperlinks used inside them!

Blogs + Lab Reports:

So how would a Lab Report  look in a blog?  Well, let me show you…but before I do, I want to give you a few questions to think about while looking at it:

  • How could the fact that it’s housed online help develop your students learning over time?
  • How do the pictures impact the presentation of the facts?
  • How does embedding video help students learning over the long haul?
  • How can this intereactive lab report impact students differently than a paper copy?

Ok…that’s enough questions…now go take a look at the “blab report” (humorous combination of the words “blog” and “lab report”…laugh with me…makes it more enjoyable!)

Sample Lab Report

So, what did you think?  Here are a few ideas that I found from this:

  1. By hosting this on a blog site, the student really can’t “lose” their lab reports!  They can always go back and look at what they did in the past and reflect on decisions or lessons they learned from their experiments.
  2. The pictures help them pay more attention to what is actually happening in the experiment while also helping them remember what things may need to be set up differently next time.
  3. The video really MAKES this page…they can actually re-live the experiment after it is over…look back at what ACTUALLY happened!
  4. By letting them take an interactive lesson (a lab) and chronicle it in an environment that allows for interaction (a blog), you have made this a memorable experience…one that they will probably really LEARN from!

Blogs are simple to set up, simple to use, and simple to maintain…sometimes it’s just hard to think of a way to use it in your classroom!  Hopefully this just pushed you in the right direction a little bit.

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