New Technology!

Wait–it’s not new to the world, or new to the school, but new to us!

Today we used ActivExpressions for the first time.  Don’t know what I mean?  Check out this picture:

Ok, sorry for the quality of that pic, but hopefully you get the idea.  It looks alot like a cell phone, but is connected to our ActivBoard, and can be used to answer questions (using multiple choice format), or you can even text in your answer to a constructed response question!

We are getting ready to take a test at the end of our Force and Motion unit in science, and so were ready to review today.  Instead of playing a game, or just answering questions out of the book, we used a flipchart on the ActivBoard that had questions we could answer using the ActivExpressions.  Here’s a random page from the flipchart we were using, to give you a better idea of what we were doing:

There were a couple of questions where the kiddos had to text in their answer, and they TOTALLY LOVED that part of our science review:


I loved how I kept hearing them say that, “This is so fun!”  My class loves science and socials studies (well they love everything we do, really), but you gotta love how a little change in the format, and an addition of a gadget and you’ve got their attention.   We will definitely we using these again soon.  Well, tomorrow, actually, because we didn’t finish today. 🙂

4 thoughts on “New Technology!

  1. Clickers are fun! I wrote a fake research plan about them over the summer (as in, I didn’t have to actually do the research). I found a really neat iOS clicker app I’m excited to use the rest of the semester. Socrative. It also just works on a website, so your kiddos could use the laptops to click in. I like it because the clickers we have at school have NO text options, and Socrative makes short answer questions very easy to do.

    One barrier to more pervasive implementation of clickers in schools for student/teacher feedback is the extra investment teachers have to make in constructing the questions. The tech and publishing companies know this, which is why they make powerpoints you can use out of the box, but that only works if your clickers integrate with your website/PPT/whiteboard software (which ours don’t. LONG story).

    Anyway, glad your first experience was a success!

    **Spoiler alert** Research from college campuses show that the novelty effect of the new tech for increasing student engagement only lasts a very short time – in the long run the immediate feedback is much more valuable to them. Which, interestingly enough, you can just do with whiteboards or index cards. (But those aren’t as fun!) (Really, the anti-novelty effect goes against every conventional wisdom in my body)

    • Wow–thanks for adding your thoughts. I should have known you’d be interested in a post on technology! Like I said, the ActivExpressions aren’t “new”, I just kept forgetting we had them! The multiple choice ones were great–I loved being able to quickly and easily see how much we understood–but the texting ones were a little trickier. Obviously, it took us a while to type in our answers. Not sure if I totally love that feature. This time we did it anonymously, but I can set it up so that I can collect each kiddo’s answers if I want to. I haven’t tried yet to create my own flipchart using them; the one we used was a pre-made one that came with our science curriculum–very handy.

      I’m interested in Socrative. I’ll have to look it up. It’s free, I assume, right?

  2. Hi, I don’t understand all of this but sound interesting. I am a homeschool teacher who teaches for a co-op. I have 15 students in my class… do u go about purchasing these devises? Tell me all ya know!

    • Patti–first of all, thanks for reading and more importantly for commenting! I am not really sure how you would go about getting ActivExpressions. They are a part of our school’s technology budget and go along with the ActivBoard that I have in my room (that’s an interactive whiteboard). They are both made my Promethean, so that might be a place to start. I am pretty certain they are really expensive, but you might be able to find a way to get someone to give you a grant for them. Wish I had more to tell you. But I do have a question–what does it mean that you teach for a co-op?

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