Monday, November 10, 2003

Interactive Powerpoint the basis for new classroom interactivity

Interactive response tools appear to be coming on strong. I saw two products designed around Interactive Powerpoint. Although both offered keypad devices, they also had virtual keypad clients for handheld devices. They had similar functionality but one stored response data in Excel while the other used an SQL database for a foundation. Also, the Excel-based model used a device client while the SQL product was browser-based. My primary concern with both products was the residence of the resulting data on the instructor laptop. I would have much preferred a client/server environment for the instructor as laptop loaners are particularly vulnerable to damage and theft.

Both products were in the $5,000 per instructor workstation with 50 student clients price range. Since Silicon Chalk offered response tracking as part of an integrated environment with a host of other features for only a $3 - $8 per seat price, I think I would prefer to explore it in preference to these products although I received a working demo of the Excel product that I can evaluate more fully.

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