Tuesday, January 8, 2008

CPS eInstruction-Using Personal Response Systems

I've just started using one brand of personal response systems made by eInstruction. I spent some time over break creating eInstruction lessons using available test banks for my course and creating surveys to assess opinions and attitudes when I was introducing a unit on psychological therapy. So here are my initial thoughts on using this system.
1. You need to immerse yourself into the software to understand how to create lessons, view reports, and create team activities. It's not as intuitive as it might be but it does seem to hold a lot of possibilities.
2. Students loved using this system. At the beginning of today's class I didn't hand out the remotes so I immediately got questions..."are we using the clickers today?" There was disappointment when I said "no."
3. Immediate feedback is crucial. Students, find out quickly what they don't know and ask questions accordingly. I ran a report after a reading quiz to find out immediately what questions were missed by the most students. This allowed me to spend more time on "difference thresholds" vs. "absolute thresholds" which 100% of the students answered correctly.
4. Group/Game options are fun. But more importantly, they are engaging. Every student was involved and every student was discussing content in meaningful ways
5. There is much more I want to try. I want to do more than yes/no, true/false, and multiple choice questions. I want to use the personal response remotes in creative ways and along side other technologies.
6. There is a lot of time spent creating lessons but once done they can used again and again. But more importantly I think the eInstruction lessons focus my lesson plan on what is important and maintains a focus on the course objectives. I would have to say the weakest part of my lessons over the years have been formative assessments and checks for understanding. I tend to plow through content then administer a final assessment. Not any longer. eInstruction is all about formative assessments and checks for understanding.
7. I think this is one technology where the investment will result in learning and better instruction. This cannot be said for all new technologies (or at least the way some technologies are being used....smart boards as overheads, for example).
Update: I received the following email from a student one week after I began to use the CPS System: "I think the new quiz technique is GREAT and I understand more so far this chapter through the quizzes than I have all year! It's great to see what you think and then find out right there and then if you were correct or not. Seeing the correct answer is great because then I actually encode the information in my brain and retain the information in my long term memory which is controlled by my hippocampus (located in limbic system) :-) YAY!!!! Look at that!! I made a personal connection from memory. Something I tend to use a lot now when speaking to people about forgetting things or remembering things."


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