According to the Lubbock AJ today, Lubbock ISD is piloting wider use of Classroom Performance System (CPS) technologies in instruction.

These types of technologies, which permit each student to have a remote control device to respond to questions, do permit teachers teaching a traditional lesson to engage students to a greater degree. I think they have a fair amount of “wow” effect, at least initially. Hopefully Lubbock ISD teachers won’t run into problems and complains I’ve heard over the past year or so about these CPS systems.

Primary among these is that it takes a fair amount of time to set everything up in the computer for a lesson. Of course time is one of the most precious resources in the classroom, and life in general. Hopefully the computer interface for setting up lesson questions has improved, and teachers in the district will get some help from instructional tech people on this.

The College of Business at Texas Tech has been using a similar CPS system for awhile. In large lecture classes, professors have used them as a way to take attendance. Problem is, some students show up with 3 or 4 CPS remote controls, and therefore click-in as “present” for their friends who have slept in or skipped class! Obviously this shouldn’t be repeated in a much smaller K-12 classroom. I think it does highlight how the use of the system can remain pretty impersonal, however.

I am convinced school districts need to be investing in potentially disruptive educational technologies, like 1:1 laptop initiatives and podcasting, rather than sustaining technologies that just serve to support and reinforce status quo teaching. I definitely put CPS systems in the latter category.

But if I was a K-12 student and was having to sit and listen to my teacher lecture, I guess having a remote control I could click periodically would be better than just sitting there and taking notes. Of course I’d rather have my laptop and be online, but chances of that happening at this point in most of our area schools (except Floydada and Post) are pretty small.

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