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‘Qwizdom’ helps Gulf students gear up for FCAT

By Staff | Mar 10, 2011

By MEGHAN McCOY
mmccoy@breezenewspapers.com
A student response system that engages an entire class during a lesson was implemented five years ago at Gulf Elementary School to increase interaction for every student.
Principal Donnie Hopper said the student response system, Qwizdom, is all about engaging students, so everyone can participate.
Wednesday morning a Gulf Elementary fifth grade class used their wireless clickers to answer FCAT sample questions. Digital slides contained various paragraphs that a student read out loud before the question and selection of answers were shown. The activity was done to help the students find facts in the paragraph to answer specific questions.
The students then practiced by determining what portion of a word was the prefix and base word by selecting an answer with their wireless remote control.
The system also provides the teachers with the chance to walk around the classroom as they teach their lesson as the hand- held wireless tablets or digital screens that allows them to change the slide presentation with a push of the button. It also allows teachers to show what percentage of students choose specific answers in a bar graph for all of the students to see.
Fifth grade teacher Jeanne Stratton said she enjoys the program because it allows all of her students with the opportunity to answer the question, which provides her with instant feedback on how they did.
She explained that if students miss a question, it gives her an idea of what needs additional attention and clarification.
“I know what I have to review,” she said.
Stratton said she uses the program once a day for various lessons in all the subject areas because it it gives her the chance to provide a more creative lesson plan for her students.
The teachers also can program the students’ remote controls with the option of telling them if they answered a question correctly immediately after they select their answer.
“The remotes are keyed so they know if they got the answer right,” Stratton said.
Due to the instant response on the controls the classroom filled with whispers of “yes” and “ah-man” after they submitted their answers Wednesday morning.
Britney Snyder, a fifth grade student said she enjoys using the student response system because it is fun.
“I like how we don’t have to use paper,” she said about the clicker she uses to answer a question.
Other students said they also enjoy using the clicker because they like pressing the buttons, along with knowing that if a question is answered incorrectly, none of the other students will know.
Second grade students in MaryBeth Grecsek’s classroom also used the wireless controls Wednesday morning to learn more about measurements.
Before the students used their controls to answer questions, they took turns reading various slides that reviewed different measurements.
If the entire class answered the question correctly, the teacher encouraged them all to give themselves an air high five.
In a previous lesson, Grecsek asked her students multiple questions about Qwizdom procedure, which had an overall class average of 91 percent from 17 participating students.
One of the questions asked the students to identify what sentence they agree with the most.
Their options were Qwizdom is the best way for me to learn or study something, Qwizdom helps me learn just as well as other ways and Qwizdom doesn’t really help me learn at all.
Seventy-one percent of her students felt that the response system is the best way for them to learn or study a new concept.
Seventy-six percent of the second grade students also would like to use the Qwizdom more in the classroom.
Gulf Elementary School currently has more than 80 student response systems that are implemented in every classroom at $1,000 per classroom.