The integration of group response systems into teaching and LOLA, the missing link in computer assisted assessment
conference contributionposted on 23.05.2006, 10:11 authored by Michael McCabe, Ann Heal, Alison White
Group response (GR) systems, otherwise known as audience or personal response systems, are commonly used on popular quiz shows to “ask the audience”. The educational value of a portable group response system used at the University of Portsmouth, Teamworker, was demonstrated at the 4th International CAA Conference (Irving et al). At Portsmouth, we are now using a cheaper and more versatile system, Varitronix PRS, during interactive classroom sessions. We identify such GR systems as 3rd generation CAA, because they follow on from 1st generation OMR/OCR and 2nd generation computer based assessment, which have more limited interaction. The greater interactivity afforded by live GR systems complements the greater accessibility of other CAA methods. Hence, while considerable opportunities for the development and effective use of GR systems lie ahead, it will not be at the expense of other CAA. The growth of GR systems as a recognised branch of CAA is expected to continue simultaneously. Our PICtures of LEarning Technology or PICLETs illustrate diagrammatically the much greater interaction between lecturer, student and computer resulting from effective use of GR systems. While teaching by questioning has been used for over two millennia, since Socrates first used it, its value when linked to effective use of learning technology in the classroom is only just beginning to be recognised. The types of questions presented during live classes are significantly different from conventional objective test questions, in that they are designed to promote interaction rather than examine students. We have used a variety of different techniques for delivering questions, including the parallel use of on-line computer based assessment. Live and On-Line Assessment (LOLA) is effectively a combination of 2nd and 3rd generation CAA. A group response system, which operates entirely on-line, is suggested as a future possibility There is considerable scope for wider and more structured use of GR systems in formative assessment. In our experience it has been during revision classes preceding summative tests that our students have gained the greatest benefits from the PRS system.
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