BROOKSVILLE — Anyone familiar with the television game show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? knows the technology now being implemented in Hernando County schools: clickers, similar to what contestants use when asking the audience for help.
The devices allow students and teachers to get instant feedback during lessons and tests.
The clickers were introduced last year as a pilot program, distributed to teachers chosen by their principals to be technology ambassadors. Each school received one set.
Matthew Goldrick, Chocachatti Elementary School math lab resource teacher, explained that a teacher also can use Examview Assessment software to load a test onto a computer and instantly see how well the students comprehended the concepts.
"That allows us to have some of these possible assessments at our fingertips." Goldrick said. That, he added, makes the job more efficient.
Each clicker is numbered, allowing teachers to identify each student's answer. A teacher trying to determine how well students understand a concept can present a question and ask the children to click on an answer. The percentage of correct answers is immediately calculated.
At a recent science fair at his school, Goldrick and science lab resource teacher Ruth Markham allowed students and parents to use them for questions about science fair projects. Questions were on a screen in the cafeteria, and Markham gave families three or four possible answers then asked them to click on a response. She immediately saw how many understood what she had been explaining.
Dr. Melissa Harts, the Hernando County School District director of technology and information services, said students using a paper test can be evaluated using the clickers.
The advantage of paper is allowing students to self-pace. Once the test is done, with the paper in front of them, the students can click their answers into the system. Teachers have their test scores instantly and can transfer them right into their computer grade books.
The clickers also allow teachers to assess themselves. Using the system, they can immediately recognize which concepts need to be revisited.
During this time of implementation, teachers are training and becoming more familiar with the system. Schools are buying more sets and the district is procuring more through a technology grant.
The clickers raise the animation in the classrooms, engaging students and encouraging them to participate, as opposed to teachers calling on just the ones who have their hands up.
"The interactivity," said Harts, "is really what the clickers provide."
"I like it a lot," Goldrick said. "The good thing about it is it's based on your computer." All the clickers tie into the teacher's computer through a blue chip, he said.
"The kids love it,'' he added. "They're always really excited about it. At this point there's a continued progression with it. If we continue to grow with it, the students can continue to be motivated and excited about it."