A 5-year-old tech start-up called Smartroom Learning Solutions, based in Georgia, offers an interactive classroom system called Beyond Question.
With it, students get wireless remote controls that let them answer multiple-choice questions. Once they've all answered a question by pressing their buttons, the teacher uses another remote to flash the correct answer on the screen and show, with automatically generated graphs, how many of the students got it right.
Kathleen Schofield, an instructor at Argyle Elementary School in Florida, has been using the system for about a year to teach science. With it, she assesses her class to figure out what they know, so she can plan her lessons. During lessons, she poses questions to make sure everyone has grasped concepts before she moves on. She sometimes uses it for official quizzes -- quizzes that offer instant feedback to students, instead of coming back in a few days.
For students, "it has a real-life connection," she notes. "It also builds community in the learning environment, as they love it when everyone is successful."
Perhaps most important, the SRS, or "student response system," boosts classroom enthusiasm.
"On the days that they saw 'SRS' on the list," she observes of when they walked in the room, "I always heard them go 'yessss ...'