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The Answer Pad – Enhancing Student Engagement in a BYOD or 1 to 1 Environment

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A device-independent enhanced Student Response System that goes hand-in-hand with 1 to 1 programs and BYOD. How cool is that?

There are different ways in which BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) can enhance student learning. It improves the levels of student engagement in a learning environment and also makes the process of learning more interactive. But at its very core, it simplifies the process of learning for the students and educators. It also saves valuable instructional times that can be used in other learning activities.

Answer Pad graphic

But, the success of BYOD rests on two important aspects:

1) BYOD programs are only as good as the way they are used by teachers.

2) The systems that are made a part of the of the BYOD learning process.

The Answer Pad software application is a student dialogue system that leverages the potential of BYOD to take learning to the next interactive level. It is an add-on to the formative assessment puzzle allowing students to draw and type out answers; its focus is on giving students and teachers instant real time feedback.

What is the Answer Pad?

The Answer Pad is a student response system and more – this software application runs on iPads, computers, and other devices (making it BYOD-friendly). There are essentially two parts to the Answer Pad. The first is an interactive student response piece that offers easy-to-use drawing features called ‘go interactive’. The second is ‘answer sheets’, enabling scoring and data capture from existing paper exams including full online reporting; this helps students show their work and variety of question types.

So how is it different from other student response systems? This is the question to ask isn’t it? To put it simply, it is the next level in student response gathering. While most other learning systems are limited to multiple choice answers, The Answer Pad breaks these limitations and allows teachers to ask more open ended questions. As can be imagined, this is a major improvement over existing systems.

The ‘Go Interactive’ Component

Better student-teacher collaboration is the hallmark of a successful learning environment and the ‘Go Interactive’ component of The Answer Pad does just that. Its objective is to help teachers gauge student understanding through the use of different response types. Teachers can make use of the different templates available in the gallery and edit them before pushing them out to students.

Students can ‘draw’ their responses using the outstanding drawing features offered by this tool and the dashboard offers teachers a visual of all student responses on a single screen. The fact that there is no preparation needed to use this tool, makes it a much better bet for improving the classroom learning experience. What’s more, teachers can personalize instructions to different students keeping in mind their responses.

Answer Sheets

A teacher can pick from 8 different questions types including numberwheel, fill in, pie shade-in, rectangle shade –in, co-ordinate grid, multiple-choice, yes/no, true false and MC 5 answer choices. The great part about this tool is that the teacher can align the answer key with Common Core Standards or choose to omit the Common Core Standards for a particular question.

The tests can be assigned to the entire class or to individual students and the answer sheet can be accessed by entering the code;  what’s more the questions can be on paper or PDF, so even teachers who aren’t really tech savvy can optimize the use of the answer pad.

Teachers and this is where it gets very interesting, can actually look at how a student arrived at the answers, by accessing the scratch pad. This is invaluable information because it helps them get insights into how students approached a problem and where they went wrong/right. The built in reporting system delivers reports on four parameters, including item analysis, skill, class, and student.

All these features make The Answer Pad much more than just a testing tool; it can be called a comprehensive assessment tool, which can be used to deliver results driven learning.

The Paid Tool

The Answer Pad works according to a freemium business model but you are offered a paid premium version. So, while the free version can be used by 1 teacher and up to 200 students , in a maximum of 8 groups, The Answer Pad premium version can be used by an unlimited number of teachers and students.

Some extra features on offer include the ability to import students, preparing custom frameworks for any subject, access to advance drawing palette for students, online paper test display and various others.

On its own, the free version itself is a very useful and highly convenient option for teachers and students, so if you think you can further up the interactive assessment ante of the classroom with premium version, you can get yourself a premium version; it’s pretty reasonably priced. However, if you think the free version suffices, stick to it.

The Answer Pad is available for the iPad, Android or from any web browser.  TAPit is a free app available for the iPad.

Related Posts (if the above topic is of interest, you might want to check these out):
Select Session Videos from the Teaching and Learning with the iPad Conference
Why Every Student Should Be In a 1:1 Classroom
Socrative – A 21st Century Way to Assess

 

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