July 25, 2013

Training, teachers and tech

Logan elementary students to use response pads in class

By Amie Sites Pharos-Tribune

---- — When teachers ask questions in class, it’s hard to tell whether students understood. That will not be the case this school year for Logansport elementary school teachers.

Beginning in August, students will use a new wireless response pad to answer questions — and teachers can see if students understand the lesson and are participating.

The device has a numeric pad, similar to a telephone key pad, that allows teachers to receive the answers on their interactive whiteboards and laptops, according to Logansport Community School Corporation technology director Cyle Dibble.

Kindergarten through eighth grade teachers within Logansport Community School Corporation picked up laptops Wednesday to take part in training that will happen today and Friday. Those teaching kindergarten through fifth grade received devices for reading training. First- through fifth-grade teachers received devices for classroom response system training.

Although the devices have been used at various places throughout the campus, they have never been used at the level they are now, Dibble said.

“The response systems will be really neat,” Dibble said. “Teachers will be able to look back and study, use data as a tool to access students quicker. And it is more fun for students.”

All elementary classrooms will have access, said Michele Starkey, Logansport Community School Corporation superintendent.

Fifth-grade Franklin Elementary teacher Michelle Boldry has used the response device for three years. Students tend to be more engaged when using the devices, Boldry said.

“We live in a technological world and I think Logansport schools are good at keeping up with technology,” Boldry said.

Teachers will be able to ask questions, get answers from students and then immediately access the responses.

Also new this year, teachers for kindergarten through eighth grade will receive laptops.

The laptops will work hand-in-hand with the response devices. They will have an USB receiver they can plug in to their laptop that will take in and store information from the response devices, Dibble said.

The answers will carry over to the teacher’s grade book and allow teachers to assign participation points in class based on the responses, Starkey said.

“This is part of streamlining our process with the idea of one-to-one and mobility,” Dibble said. “We want to roll that idea down to elementary students and get teachers used to mobile items.”

The data will be on teachers’ laptops, so if teachers want to take the laptop home, they’ll have the data with them, Dibble said.

“A lot of teachers work after hours and being able to have their information whereever they go is a big part of that and allows them to be flexible,” Dibble said.

A goal for next year is to get some one-to-one devices for fifth- to eighth-graders, Starkey said. She said they are always looking for effective ways of evaluating students and getting data in a nice, easy way.

“It’s an awesome thing for Logansoprt,” Boldry said. “I’m happy we’re moving in that direction.”

Amie Sites is a staff reporter at the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at 574-732-5117 or