Local News

Interactive Teaching Device Clicks With Students

Posted August 21, 2003 9:35 a.m. EDT

— A new tool could revolutionize the way teachers teach.

Schools in Person County are experimenting with a computer software program called Classroom Performance System (CPS) that could one day replace blackboards and written tests.

In Sarah Cox's physics class at Person High School, the review questions are not all that exciting. It is the way students answer that has them interested.

The CPS links handheld remotes used by students into a software program. Teachers tailor the program to their own needs.

"You can't do this with pencil and paper. It just doesn't work and nobody gets excited about it that way," Cox said.

"Because we're not just doing book work We're doing something that's fun," a student said.

The screen waits for every answer. No student can hide and only the teacher knows how the questions are answered.

It is the ability to secretly click in answers that allows smarter students and slower students to be less self conscious about their answers. Teachers said the system beats the hands up method, hands down.

"Johnny knows he can put his answer in and there's no fear of other people saying, 'Oh no, Johnny got this wrong," said Lisa Davis, a teacher at Stories Creek Elementary.

The clickers also help Davis identify students who need special attention. Stories Creek has two kits, costing at $2,000 each.

Students using them said they want the clickers in every class. It is the kind of fun that teachers and students find makes learning easier.

"It's not like we have to get out the remotes. It's like, 'Oh yeah! We get to get out remotes because it's fun," said an elementary student.

Person is one of only a few counties in the state testing the system. Federal funds helped pay for the units. School leaders think the system could help raise test scores to meet new federal standards.