Friday, October 31, 2003

Wireless Handhelds Superior to Response Pads

I was catching up on my reading and noticed the TS article on wireless response pads. I had not yet read that article so I took a look and explored the website link to the company that produces the response pads. For lecture interactivity I think a group Weblog environment might be a more practical solution rather than an investment in a proprietary hardware system (no offense intended to my fellow authors at the Technology Source). Now that we have wireless installed throughout most of the classroom spaces on campus, I think we will see more students coming to class with their own internet-enabled devices whether they are full size laptops or handhelds. Here in Education we have also implemented a "COW" cart filled with wireless Gateway laptops that we provide to instructors for classroom use. The instructor could use their own wireless laptop to instantaneously post questions to a class web log then students could post their reactions and questions via the comment function.

The Pollxn comment plugin for the Blosxom Weblog product ( I have been evaluating has a setting to require posters to enter their name and e-mail address before posting their comment. This would help to ensure appropriate identification for credit purposes.

For wireless exam purposes, a tool like Dragon Web Surveys by Waves In Motion ( enables an instructor to easily develop an online exam with points assigned to questions and, if configured to process responses immediately upon receipt, provides the instructor with a web link to results as they are submitted. It also has a branching capability that enables the development of adaptive learning strategies based on a student's responses. Students access the exam from a simple web link using any wireless-enabled device. Since students would be using their own devices, the instructor also does not have to deal with distributing and collecting response devices before each class.

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