PRSTM - the Wireless Personal Response System

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At Better Education we believe the classroom is a special place that offers a unique opportunity for interaction. If you are interested in increasing Classroom interaction and learning, the PRSTM can help you do it effectively and simply. The PRS is a low cost, easy to use, easy to setup, response system. The PRS is also completely scalable and portable. Let your students find out if they really understand, let them try and apply what they've learned while it's still fresh. Challenge them to understand deeper concepts, and find out if what your telling them is sinking in, - - - before test time. Then, without even trying, you will make class fun and students will find that they enjoy your class much more than the long and sleepy lectures they get elsewhere.

The Teacher Displays a Question
The teacher displays a multiple choice question for the class by simply using an overhead projector and transparencies, or by typing it in using the PRS software. You can even write it on the blackboard or just present it orally. The essence of interactive teaching is a good question, and teachers have a lot of fun thinking them up and seeing how well they work. Questions can be two parts where one part is the answer to the question, and the other, the student's confidence level in their answer.

The Students Send in their Answers
When the class is ready the instructor starts the timer and students can send in their answers by simply aiming their transmitter at the nearest receiver and pressing one of 10 answer choice keys. To indicate a confidence level they precede their answer by pressing the "H" button for a high level of confidence or the "L" button for a low level confidence.

To monitor the time and confirm that their messages are received, students watch the screen at the front of the room. The screen can be set in one of two modes. In small classrooms the screen can be fixed so that each student has their own square. When a student sends a message they can tell that it was received because their square changes color for a few seconds.

In large classrooms a scrolling list is used. Whenever a message is received the name of the sender is quickly added to the list. When the question time expires, or the teacher stops the timer, a histogram showing a distribution of answers is immediately displayed in front of the class. The PRS allows two modes of operation, the "Anonymous mode" and the "Known". In the Known mode, student's answers are archived and incentive points for participation and correctness can be given using the accompanying MarkTMprogram.

Dramatic Results

The technology may be simple but the effects on teaching and learning are dramatic. When students discuss issues in class, the whole atmosphere changes and the classroom becomes a much more active, lively, and happy place. This has been shown in hundreds of classes involving thousands of students from elem. school to post graduate.
Also, when students know that their thoughts and understandings are important, four very interesting things tend to happen. Research has shown that students actually,
   (1) do more thinking in classes, as well as
   (2) understand conceptual issues better (shown in tests), also,
   (3) they come to class better prepared to engage, and
   (4) they enjoy it more, in spite of also working harder.

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