6th Grade Esko Students Use College Gadget For Class

By KBJR News 1

May 4, 2012 Updated May 4, 2012 at 11:19 AM CDT

ESKO, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) - Esko's elementary school is gearing-up students with the latest technology.

The high-tech gear being used in one 6th grade classroom is more often used in college classrooms.

At first glance, this new tool looks like a calculator. It has keys but it doesn't compute problems. It submits answers.

"We push, like, the five until you get to the five. It's kind of like old school-texting," said one 6th grader.

"I saw them as a way of getting students more engaged, said Brian Wickenheiser, a 6th grade math and science teacher.

He says it's working. It's called a "Clicker". Wickenheiser, known to his students as Mr. Wick, says it's made his teaching more efficient.

"He can tell us which one we have wrong or how many we have wrong," said one of his students.

"It gives me that immediate feedback, so I can see where the students, how the students are doing immediately, " said Mr. Wick

His students use them during discussions, tests and small group sessions.

"You don't have to wait three days to see how you did on a test," said one student.

To use the device, students work out their problems on their papers, punch in their answers, push submit, and the answer available on their iPad as well as on the Smart Board.

"We can see the results as a class and initially there was fear that these would lessen classroom discussions, but I found in my class, they actually increase discussions, 'cause they can all see how other students in the classroom have responded," said Mr. Wick.

"Then we can prove what our answer is, and we might change our answers if we think someone else's explanation is better," said a student.

While classroom results are anonymous, the teacher can look at individual answers and see where students are going wrong as they work.

"They know that they have to put in more quality work into their answers because if they don't, I follow-up with them," said Mr. Wick.

He says there's also a cool factor.

"It's probably more cool to adults, because kids are coming to expect this."

The new gadgets have been in the classrooms for most of the year and were paid for through grants.

Mr. Wick says the students' engagement and growth were worth the investment.

Posted to Web by Jena Pike