Effectiveness of a Student Response System Supported Curriculum and a Middle School Leadership Program

Effectiveness of a Student Response System Supported Curriculum and a Middle School Leadership Program

Donna M. Rice, John Wilson, Andy Bennetts
DOI: 10.4018/IJCSSA.2018010104
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A student response system (SRS) with an engaging and interactive curriculum to support 21st -century skills could increase student performance in U.S. schools. This article will include student and teacher feedback to provide educators with possible solutions to poor student performance. Students respond positively to engagement opportunities related to their peers and classroom content. Through data collection and analysis, students learn, become involved, construct individual understanding, and experience real-time digital feedback. Why do many classrooms exclude technology and active learning strategies (ALS) although usage has resulted in great enthusiasm and consistent results? Could student success be facilitated by embedding an SRS and ALS in a standardized curriculum in a Title I middle school leadership classroom? To explore these questions, it is necessary to understand SRS technology and its capabilities, as well as its use in conjunction with an ALS embedded curriculum used in leadership programs.
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Introduction And Background

Since the 1960s, various forms of student response systems (SRSs) have been used as classroom tools. Ward, Reeves, and Heath (2003) divided this SRS evolution into three generations. During the 1960s and 1970s, the first generation’s homemade SRS was typically hardwired into classrooms. The second generation (1980s) introduced wireless versions of response systems like infrared and radio-frequency keypads. Third generation response devices included Web-based systems and technology through the 1990s (Ward et al., 2003).

Use of an SRS was first reported at Stanford University in 1966; an early form of the SRS was used at Cornell University in 1968 (Abrahamson, 2006; Judson & Sawada, 2002). The systems were reportedly expensive, difficult to use, and poorly functioning. Early systems were hardwired with knobs or buttons at student desks. The teacher’s station had gauges to indicate students’ responses to the questions. These hardwired systems began in college classrooms, specifically physics courses (Judson & Sawada, 2002).

Technology has become more cost effective, adaptable, and reliable. The SRS was increasingly available in the mid-1990s. However, SRS affordability did not occur until the late 1990s when the systems reached a broader implementation through the introduction of wireless infrared SRSs (Abrahamson, 2006). By the mid-2000s, a radio frequency version of the SRS was introduced. This version has become the most used, with no less than six different radio frequency systems commercially available by 2008 (Barber & Njus, 2007).

Most of the work supported by SRSs in higher education helped faculty with tasks, especially in larger classes. The systems historically simplified attendance and grading (Ward et al., 2003). Literature reviews related to the SRS support a change toward an interest in the support of teaching and learning rather than just task management in higher education (Caldwell, 2007; Fies & Marshall, 2006; Judson & Sawada, 2002; Kay & LeSage, 2009; Simpson & Oliver, 2007).

A shift to incorporate this technology in the K-12 classroom has been ongoing since 2003 (Kay & Knaack, 2009). However, teachers already spend hours developing lesson plans linked to standards, finding interesting classroom activities to teach and reinforce content to engage students, and building authentic formative and summative assessments to provide information about student learning. Adding technology to teachers’ plates can be overwhelming due to their lack of time, resources, or user confidence (Starr, 2012). Technology, regardless if it is not used or is used improperly, can be a very expensive mistake.

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