by Michael S. Tomczyk, Better
for Interactive Classroom Communications System Technology in
Remedial, Tutorial and Special Education Programs (CCS)
This paper briefly outlines potential uses and benefits for
interactive classroom communication technology in the field of
remedial education and tutoring. The technology to put a teacher
"on-line" with every student in class exists today.
It's a new genre of technology called the "Classroom
Communication System" (CCS). The first CCS system called.
is a computerized classroom management system that. . .
1) enables every student to participate in every class
2) instantly displays the results to the teacher, and
3) electronically monitors, analyzes, grades, and archives
consists of a Teacher's Computer (Macintosh), interactive
course ware, a Classtalk network, and student devices
which can be shared by 2 to 3 students. The student devices can
include palmtop or laptop computers, graphing
calculators or other computing devices.
CCS technology was conceived and developed by
an educational research organization located in Yorktown,
Virginia. Research sponsored by the National Science Foundation
has validated a wide variety of benefits including: full participation,
increased interest in subject matter, better focus and preparation
in class, and improved test scores. These benefits suggest important
applications in remedial and tutorial education, particularly
for at-risk, disadvantaged and disabled students.
Classtalk, the first fully-interactive Classroom Communication
System (CCS), has the potential to provide important teaching
and learning benefits in remedial, tutorial and special education.
The process of applying CCS technology in these areas is just
beginning. The following examples illustrate the potential and
provide a basis for structuring specific programs:
1. Using CCS Technology to Focus Students in Class
- Many at-risk students do not do homework because of poor family
support, difficult neighborhood environment or distractions such
as TV. Many receive the bulk of their learning in the classroom.
Often, they are not focused on learning due to influences outside
the classroom. Setting and maintaining a high focus level is
essential for students who have trouble doing homework or concentrating
Cognitive science research has shown that "active learning"
exercises can improve learning and cognition. Classtalk
represents a computerized delivery system for active learning.
Every 10 or 15 minutes, students are asked to respond to a question
or given a task based on the lesson. Knowing they will be asked
to give a response encourages them to pay closer attention to
the lesson material and keeps them focused on each lesson. Classtalk
exercises may also help overcome short attention spans which
seem to be a problem in the "MTV generation"--by
delivering lessons in short segments, punctuated by interactive
exercises that engage the entire class.
2. Persuading At Risk Students to Participate -
A student who is shy or embarrassed, or a member of an ostracized
social group, can be afraid to give a wrong answer in front of
class and thus does not participate fully in questions or class
Classtalk responses are entered electronically
land anonymously, which encourages every student to participate,
regardless of ethnic or social background, knowledge of material,
confidence, or personality type. All students can participate
in every exercise without risking peer ridicule. Every student
provides input (including opinions) which offsets the tendency
of extroverted students to dominate class verbal responses and
Students enjoy working with computers and calculators,
which offers another incentive for participation. Using handheld
or palmtop computing devices for learning exercises linked to
curriculum goals capitalizes on the popularity of computers and
video games, and applies this interest and familiarity to specific
teaching and learning goals.