SMART Response makes the grade in Sugar Land
By Stacie Boudrie
Educational Technology Specialist
Fort Bend ISD
Sugar Land, TX
Are you looking for a way to make your life in the classroom easier? Have you wished someone else could grade your 40 question assessment? Do you want to ensure ALL of your students grasp the new objective you taught? And how about 100 percent class participation with instant feedback from your students?
This can all be achieved by using SMART Response interactive response system and software in your classroom. This hardware and software combination can easily peak student’s interest while lightening the teacher’s work load.
SMART Response clickers, when put in student’s hands, give them the power to learn, share and be successful. It is almost magical when the clickers are given to students. Instantly, they’re anxious to log on using their personal ID and they’re ready to listen to the teacher with a new interest; therefore increasing participation and decreasing discipline.
However, the clickers are just 50 percent of this dynamic duo. Teacher Tools, the software component of SMART Response interactive response system, makes your work load lighter and easier. The Response software is integrated into SMART Notebook collaborative learning software when downloaded and activated. So, there’s no need to learn a new piece of software or create new presentations or assessments.
In Teacher Tools you can set up individual class lists, which includes the student’s name and ID, and a record of that student’s class progress. In the Teacher Tools Grade Book, you can choose a class to take an assessment. Once the assessment is completed and students submit their answers, the student’s grade is automatically inserted into the Teacher Tools within the class you selected (whether by subject, period, small groups, etc.). You can instantly see student and class averages for that assessment, as well as an average for all assessments. Questions and students can be tagged in Teacher Tools to help track data. All data is automatically stored and can be exported easily via spreadsheet or PDF depending on your needs.
There are multiple ways SMART Response interactive response system is used in our district. Assessments can include up to 40 questions (SMART Response XE will allow for more questions and elaborate answers), the clickers can be used for pre- and post-assessments, hard copy assessments, tests and quizzes. Using the SMART Response menu in SMART Notebook software, an answer key can be created without actually typing the questions.
SMART Response is also integrated within a lesson to retrieve instantaneous responses to check for understanding throughout the lesson when presenting information to the students. This method would include several content pages of information followed by a few questions. What is the significance of this method? Using this Content>Questions>Content presentation model, teachers are able to ensure that students understand new concepts or are retaining previously taught information. This type of teaching ensures objectives are being mastered.
Also, by tagging questions teachers can track how many times they taught an objective and if individual students and classes have remembered previously taught information. At a glance, teachers can see strengths and weaknesses of all students and classes, allowing the teacher to tailor lessons to the needs of the class. No more having a student shake their head “Yes.” as they nervously think “I have no idea, please don’t call on me.” The Response clicker truly leaves no child behind and provides accurate and precise information.
There are many useful features in SMART Response software, which can be used in all grades and subjects. Some of these features include:
- PowerPoint – Already have PowerPoint presentations? Use the Add Ins feature to insert questions into your PowerPoint. Another option is to export your PowerPoint into SMART Notebook collaborative learning software.
- Instant Grading (No more homework for you!) – As students enter their answers it is automatically recorded and saved in Teacher Tools. At a glance, a teacher can view student and class averages, along with individual answers.
- Create Answer Key: Create an answer key quickly for assessments that does not require a SMART Notebook file with questions. This works well with hard copy assessments, tests and quizzes.
- Tagging: Tag questions or students to help track progress.
- Easily Export Data: Export student or class progress into a PDF or spreadsheet file that provides graphs and other visual tools to easily assess data.
- Incorporate Questions: Incorporate a few questions in a SMART Notebook file to reiterate and ensure students understand new concepts and ideas.
Are you excited about the benefits of the SMART Response interactive response system? Here are Directions to Set up Teacher Tools that you can download from the SMART Exchange website or you can search my username StacieBTX for useful resources and assessments. The directions will help you set up your system and give you ideas of how you can use it.
What if I don’t have a SMART Response system?
Did you know there is A LOT of money out there for technology tools just like this? You just need to know how to access it. The easiest way to receive funding is through grant writing. If you haven’t done that before, it can be intimidating, but don’t let that stop you. When I was in the classroom, I started writing grants and I wasn’t always successful, but I kept writing and revamping my grants. When I did successfully receive the grant, it was like Christmas! The feeling of receiving technology that you want and need is amazing. One of my favorite grant writing presentations was by Sheryl Abshire. She simplified the important details of grant writing in a way that was easy to understand. You can view her handouts at http://www.cpsb.org/abshire/. She includes her handout, presentation and a long list of grants that are available to you. She gives several tips to writing grants, but the most important one is to realize you may not be successful at first. Keep trying! Keep writing! As you refine your grant writing you’ll begin to find continued success.