My district is embarking on a beta test of student response systems in our elementary classrooms. The plan is to place 5 systems in each of our 6 elementary schools with the project being driven by a learning club environment at each school. The learning club will provide resources, training and necessary materials to those teachers involved, so that at the end of Year 1 - those teachers will be utilized to train new teachers the following year. By creating a learning club teachers have each other to rely on to share information, while also holding each other accountable.
I do believe in the value of the learning club concept and think it will propel this project to the next level. My biggest concern is will these tools have an impact on instruction in the classroom? I know the immediate feedback will be of benefit to the teachers, but how will they use that feedback? Will the teachers use that feedback to reteach material, provide more in depth content or simply move on to the next lesson as they always have. If the answer is the latter, then these devices will be nothing more than toys. If the answer is one of the first two, then hopefully those students who do not fully grasp the material or content the first time, will have an opportunity to apply and learn the material at a deeper level.
Time will tell whether this project will have a long term impact on instruction and overall student achievement. I believe if implemented correctly and having the buy-in from top to bottom, it could be the project to have the most impact on student learning in quite some time.
JDS | CIO