Setting I chose an elementary school in my county. The media specialist and the 4th grade teacher collaborated and created an experience using Classroom Performance System (CPS or clickers as they are referred to at this school). I interviewed the media specialist. She was actually using the technology. The teacher and the media specialist were helping the students.
Demographics- 18 students, 7 boys and 11 girls
Use of Technology CPS are used to track student response and provide immediate feedback to the teachers. The students were asked 20 questions. They had to identify whether sentences were simple or complete. The students used their clickers to register their answers. The questions were given using a Smart Board and after the process the teacher called students up to identify the correct answers.
Purpose of CPS use in Lesson The teacher wanted to assess the whole group and be able to differentiate the learning based on the results. The CPS gave the students an opportunity to work in a whole group setting in the media center. Using this technology will enable the teacher to analyze the data immediately and provide student feedback immediately.
Educator’s Thoughts I interviewed Mrs. Marshall because she was the one facilitating the lesson’s technology use. She is the media specialist . The students carried out the lesson in the media center, this was the normal way CPS activities were carried out. Mrs. Marshall directed the lesson because she had the technological expertise. The teacher, Mrs. Black, did not know how to use the devices. Mrs. Marshall provides this service roughly 4 times a week. She stated that her collaborative involvement was more cooperation than true collaboration. Both instructors worked with the students. She helped the teacher analyze the data and helped identify individual needs of the students. Together they worked out plans for the students who needed more help in the area and those who could go further with the material.
Continued Mrs. Marshall gave the impression that the devices were extremely helpful (as did the classroom teacher). She thinks that the ability of the clickers to diagnose problem areas is very important, especially with the push to improve test scores county wide. The instructors both agree that the major difference using the devices to assess the students is the ability for them to immediately identify areas of individual need. After conducting the lesson the students were given 20 minutes to check out two books and the teacher and media specialist broke the results down and placed the students in three groups. They met later in the day to create lessons for the following day based on the results.
Support Issues The biggest problem Mrs. Marshall experienced during the lesson was clicker malfunction. Luckily there were extra devices the students could receive. Generally the biggest problem with the CPS technology was lack of training for the teachers. This prevented them from being able to use the technology in their rooms. The teachers have to rely on her expertise to use CPS (with a few exceptions most of the teachers on staff were untrained).
Conclusion I enjoyed watching the activity during my observation. I knew of the technology from my previous job, however, I never used it before. I think the benefits of CPS are significant and should be used more often for assessing student understanding.