Classtalk is a networked classroom, whick links students' calculators with the teacher's computer. It is valuable tool, enabling students and teachers to interact with each other through this cutting-edge technology.
Dr. Louis Abrahamson, president of Better Education, Inc., met with Andrew Lippai and Ann Davidian and donated a Classtalk system to be used at MacArthur High School. Noting the educational value for their everyday classroom use, the teachers have begun to use the system in precalculus and AP Calculus classes.
Through the use of Classtalk, teachers send questions over the classroom's network to students' calculators. These questions can be multiple choice, numeric, text or algebraic expressions. After arriving at their solutions to the problems, students transmit their answers through their calculators to the computer.
The computers then analyzes student responses and produces a histogram (bar graph) of the results. From a large monitor, the class is able to see the aggregate results and receive instantaneous feedback as to the class' response to the question. Based on the results, the teacher responds accordingly, either progressing on to the next topic, or reinforcing a concept.
Students enjoy seeing how their answers compare to their classmates' while appreciating the anonymity of the histrogram. Teachers are excited at their newfound ability to immediately assess the class' understanding of various topics. Through the record-keeping capabilities of the program, teachers are also able to track the progress of each student on an individual basis.
As one students, Brooke Beyer, commented, "It helps our teacher learn from us what our strengths and weaknesses are. It also shows students that they are not alone in their mistakes." This was echoed by Natalie Hajdukiewicz, when she stated, "A lot of people are too shy to admit that they got it wrong, so this enables them to admit it without anyone else knowing. This allows the teacher to keep track of who is falling behind." Of course, the idea of the teacher knowing how everyone is doing has another aspect. Noted by Jennifer Brtalik was the fact that, "I have to do all my homework now because Mrs. Davidian is able to see our answers and know if we don't answer."
This story ran on page 6 of the Levittown Tribune on 05/12/00.
© Copyright 2000 Levittown Tribune.