One device that hasn’t “gone viral” in a big way in Irish classrooms is the learning response system. These voting devices have been around for as long as Interactive Whiteboards but haven’t really proved as popular.
For those of you unfamiliar with Learning Response Systems (LRSs), a short guide can be read here.
I have tested out three different LRSs in the last 7 years. Each time I have given my class an LRS unit and we use it for different things. For example, in one class I used it to assess whether children recognised their colours in Irish.
Although the children in my class enjoyed using the LRS, I still have never invested in them. I have never been able to justify their hefty price tag of around €50-€75 each. I’ve always thought that as soon as I bought one, someone would invent something for a mobile phone which would do the same thing. So far, nobody has and the iPod Touch seems to be the closest to it. Although I’ve searched, there isn’t an app for that, yet.
As mentioned in my post about LRSs, nearly every company that sells Interactive Whiteboards seems to also sell these devices. Unsurprisingly, the biggest sellers of these devices is Promethean but there are several other well known brands from Genee, Smart and others. All these devices have their own software to go with them and they work similarly.
Sight and Sound, the distributors of the Teamboard, (my favourite IWB) have now hopped on board with the Qwizdom Q6 LRS. The device looks good and is probably the most similar to a mobile phone compared to other brands. In my opinion this is a good idea as it already a familiar looking concept to a child and there isn’t much of a learning curve in using it initially. So how does it work?
According to Ciaran Ryan from Sight and Sound,
the qwizdom response system is typically used with PowerPoint. From here the teacher can create slides in PowerPoint as questions (e.g. Multiple Choice Questions) and when the presentation is ‘run’ from the Qwizdom toolbar the questions are dynamically sent to the student handsets for them to answer.
One must install the Qwizdom ActionPoint software on the computer first and it automatically appears as an additional toolbar in PowerPoint. I’m very impressed that the LRS integrates well with software like PowerPointand most schools will have PowerPoint installed. However, I believe it is not necessary to have it as Qwizdom have their own software too.
Other neat little touches include little games that offer a more entertaining way of competing with each other.
Like most LRSs, there is a teacher handset which is used to display student responses. A cool thing is that this can be set to display only on the small screen on the teachers handset for private viewing. The system also provides detailed analysis of students’ responses similar to that of other software.
Pricewise, the Qwizdom Q6 is about average costing as much as €75.75 to as little as €54.95 depending on the number bought.
The Qwizdom Q6 is certainly an impressive device and compared to the others out there, it is worth checking out if you have the money. Its best feature is in its integration with PowerPoint and other Qwizdom products. I also like its similarity to a mobile phone. However, there is only so much one can do with a device like this. In effect, it is a data collection device and essentially is used for whole class assessment. It is getting rarer to do this kind of activity in our times of differentiation. If I had an unlimited amount of money, I would consider these devices strongly. While the Qwizdom Q6 is one of the best Learning Response Systems I have seen, its price along with its limited amount of usage would make me consider other technologies before them or any other similar device.
Last Update: August 22, 2017