Otterman speaks... (2003-2007)
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Otterman speaks...

Cycling, macintosh, natural history and life in Singapore - Archives

List of Categories : travel * museum * cycling * Singapore Naturalist * science * kakis * mangroves * movies * mac and the internet * meow * NUS * life in Singapore * lit * world *

Fri 04 Aug 2006

Overcoming the "silent majority"

Category : NUS

"CIT has recently acquired 100, RF technology, LCD keypads from eInstruction (Classroom Feedback System). This product is similar to KEEPad; eInstruction allows instant feedback to lecturers from student during lectures. We feel it will be an important addition in facilitating and enhancing face-to-face teaching.

I am at the product knowledge session at the CIT Auditorium. It'd be lovely to get a glimpse into whether students have a clue during lectures, and much faster that the feedback which comes after its all over.

In the cross-faculty Animal Behaviour lectures that I help teach, I often wonder if I am going too slow and if I can pickup the pace a little or if need to explain come concepts more. Three simple questions in the middle of a session would easily sort that out!

NUS has the first 100 units in Singapore. They can be used in CIT or borrowed out. For starters, I could use it during the training workshops I need to conduct for Toddycats.

In an unrelated point, how do I reverse a photo booth image with Graphic Converter?

Demo: They demonstrated the Chalkboard, a mobile drawing tool, and sketched out a question (man drinks a barrel in 6 days, woman in 12, how many days would both take?) They invited responses and the 38 responses were spread over a wide series of responses, summarised as bar graphs. After a discussion, the responses were re-polled - idea being that peer instruction is activated in meanwhile.

A simple task was made fun and interesting even to some old kids in the room.

There are lots of functions but the most important function is anonymous response by the class as a whole. Very good for overcoming student shyness which has always existed amongst university students.

Some background

eInstruction's webpage:

"eInstruction was founded in 1981, by Dr. Darrell L. Ward, a long-time researcher and teacher. He recognized a significant need in educational institutions for innovative technology-based products."

So even eeking out a response from US students has been difficult.

Purdue adopted it in 2004:

"Purdue University, has recently adopted eInstruction's Classroom Performance System for hundreds of classrooms across the campus. Students buy inexpensive units from the bookstore, register their names, and then use the units in any of the equipped classrooms."

"With a system-wide license agreement in place for a spring 2005 semester rollout, students can buy one clicker that will work for any of their classes using RF response pad technology. The clickers will cost about $12."

So interesting that they sell the pads at the bookstore (co-op). The presenter is emphasising their company's (lots of competitors) education origins and hence the pad design's robustness of design, recessed keys, lcd screen and use of 2xAA battery.

Notes from the web

More notes:

  • Powerpoint, Word, Web, Learning Management Systems (e.g. Blackboard) can be integrated with eInstruction's Classroom Performance System. The CPS bar can float above the other applications, tracking responses to questions posed in your other apps.
  • Someone just asked - yes, there is a Macintosh version.
  • Summative and Formative Assessment - see eBook Black & William, 1998
  • CORE classroom aggregation, real time results on the web.
  • CPS already used in 200 schools, mainly K12 so far (non-tertiary).
  • Discover channel video integration is just starting up.

Report generation

They are now asking a series of survival questions; and its all animal attack related. The sort of thing I'd do during the animal behaviour course. The potential report generation capabilities are high of course since its just manipulation of data. Importantly for any sort of data, it is exportable to excel or SPSS.

Some thoughts

This will be good in very large classrooms - some general courses have hundreds of students. For smaller classes (up to 200) like mine, we should not abandon ideas for forcing out a response out of students.

Some old tricks can still work - calling out students dressed in prominent colours. In my time, some of the more nervous individuals started dressing in more earthy colours. But the lecturer changed his strategy and kept us guessing.

I should also revive the tradition of wandering around an LT with a big stick and point to individuals. When I was at the receiving end, I used to get a heart attack and blank out! Eventually though, we learnt to function under stress, and teamwork emerged as those who could still think whispered answers that were passed across the LT to the victim.

A pretty good thing to learn during university days.

Posted at 4:17AM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | , .