Classroom Performance System
The Department of Library Teaching and Learning in University Libraries recently acquired eInstruction’s Classroom Performance System (CPS), a technology that allows instructors to gauge in an instant student understanding of material, that encourages lively whole-class interaction, and that captures student learning assessment data.
With CPS, instructors pose subjective or objective questions to which students respond anonymously via individual wireless response pads that look very much like a remote control for a television or DVD player. Student responses are then tabulated and displayed on the instructor’s projected workstation. Since student responses are anonymous, students are more likely to respond while instructors benefit from the immediate feedback. Instructors can tailor their lesson plans according to student needs, skipping material that students understand and devoting more time to content students need to learn.
The software also has the capability of increasing classroom interactivity. An instructor can present a question based on a specific scenario, have students weigh in with their responses, and then encourage a dialogue among students before revealing the correct answer. This feature in particular has been well received by the instruction librarians and students in classes where the software was used because of the liveliness of interaction it promotes. Instruction librarians, who tend to be guest lecturers, find it difficult to engage students in the single class period they typically have to work with a class. CPS jumpstarts active learning possibilities in these sessions.
The ability of CPS to record student responses will help the Libraries gather data about students’ information literacy skills. Instruction librarians work with students at all levels. By having students in upper-division classes respond to the same set of questions that entry-level students respond to, the Libraries can track improvement in students’ information literacy skills as well as identify areas needing improvement.
Instruction librarians piloted CPS in several classes during summer and fall semesters, and student response was favorable. In fact, in a library instruction session taught this summer for EDTL 680, the students who were primarily high school and elementary school teachers, asked for more information about CPS. They were so impressed with the technology that they wanted to explore the possibility of acquiring the technology for their own school systems.
CPS was funded for University Libraries through a collaborative OBOR Technology Initiatives Grant. An article about this grant project is available in the Spring 2002 issue of Library Newslinks. More information about CPS is available on the eInstruction website <http://www.einstruction.com/>.
SMART Board / Laptops
The Curriculum Resource Center (CRC) is using a SMART Board during instruction sessions as a method to engage students in active learning as well as to expose pre-service Preschool – 12 educators to a new and effective classroom technology tool. The SMART Board is an interactive whiteboard that allows instruction librarians the flexibility to “control software, access and display information from the Internet, run live video from a camera, and deliver CD-ROM presentations” by touching the Board.
In essence, the SMART Board becomes the instructor’s keyboard. Important points can be illustrated by writing or drawing with special pens or by using the onscreen highlighter on the touch-sensitive screen. During CRC instruction sessions presenters have used the SMART Board to demonstrate effective online catalog searching techniques, view a visual tour of the CRC via Microsoft PowerPoint, and encourage the use of education-related Internet sites or Preschool – grade 12 research databases. To learn more about the SMART Board visit http://smarttech.com/ and http://www.smarterkids.org/.
In addition to using the SMART Board, CRC instructors have added 24 laptops and an integrated audiovisual equipment system to enhance their instructional sessions. Laptops and equipment were purchased with monies received from Board of Regents instructional equipment funds allocated through the Office of the Provost and additional funds allocated through the Office of the Chief Information Officer at BGSU. Students are actively engaged during CRC sessions by using the laptops to locate educational materials via the University Libraries online catalog, construct effective online search strategies, to identify relevant research articles and evaluate Internet sites.
– Sara Bushong, Head Librarian, Curriculum Resource Center and Cathi Cardwell, Chair, Department of Library Teaching and Learning