Clickers in the Classroom

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BERWICK -- Teachers in one district in Columbia County are using technology gadgets in the classroom to promote learning.

With interactive questions and a Response Card Keypad, or clicker, some classes in the Berwick Area school district may seem more like a game show.

As students filed in to Mr. Shrader's physics class at Berwick Area high school, they all made sure to grab a clicker.

They needed quick thinking and fast fingers for the day's lesson.

The clickers are the latest district-wide initiative to bring more technology, and perhaps fun, into the classroom.

The district ordered more than 600 clickers to be used in some classrooms at all levels, high school, middle school and even elementary.

"It’s basically taking the technical world that we all live in already and putting it in the classroom and the kids know how to use this stuff better than I do most of the time," said physics teacher Matthew Shrader.

Part of the Turning Point system, during lessons, students answer interactive questions using a Response Card Keypad, or clicker.

"Yeah, it was really easy. You just have to look at the numbers on the board. You pick the numbers on the clicker. I think it`s easier too, cause you`re not so worried about raising your hand and giving the wrong answer, what everyone else thinks of you. No one else knows what you picked. It`s just you so you can try your hardest to get the right answer," said junior Vanessa Bannon of Berwick.

"It makes it more challenging, kind of. You have to make sure you`re paying attention," added junior Ashley Charles. "I can`t just goof off in class because I know that I need to answer this."

The clicker is just the latest example of how technology in the classroom helps both teachers and students.

"It’s not a matter of just more fun. It actually makes life easier for me because I can give formative assessment and diagnostic assessment as I`m walking and talking and going through the lesson. I know right away whether or not the kids get it or not. So if I talk about a subject and I put up a question about it, then I instantly have feedback on the screen what percentage of the class got it right and got it wrong," said Shrader.

"It shows that times have changed and people are more into computers and stuff like that now instead of the traditional learning," said sophomore David Rivenbark. "Some classes we use the smart-boards to do math, some classes we use the clickers to answer questions, stuff like that."

"It kind of makes it a little bit more fun to pay attention in class," added Charles.

Berwick Area school officials said the more than $35,000 cost for the clickers was included in the district budget.

The district also plans to add even more technology. Some advance placement classes will soon be using iPads.