Moving while no one is looking…

March 25, 2008

We’re MovingI found this cartoon at http://www.the8thsign.com, a blog by Alec Peden, and I just had to stick it on here. It is so true!

I have really enjoyed having a WordPress blog, but as we work on consolidating and “beefing up” our website, we are moving our blog to our What’s New page directly at engaging-technologies.com. It won’t have all the bells and whistles like our WordPress blog, but for what we do, it isn’t much different. When there is a submission that warrants, we’ll just make up a new page on our website for it, so that information will be a little easier to find. All articles on this blog will remain until I can transfer some of the information over to our website.

We’re adding new information about Teaching With Clickers on a regular basis and have also added a Downloads page, which is where you’ll find all of our training modules. We hope to have a grant information page soon, and a resource page of many various clicker links is in the works. By subscribing to our RSS feed, you’ll be the first to know when this new information is added or when special pricing is posted.

I hope that those of you who have subscribed to this RSS feed in the past will continue with us at our new feed. You’ll now even have the option to receive our updates via email if you wish (I even signed myself up and thought it was so cool!).

To subscribe to automatic updates via the RSS reader of your choice or via email (you choose what method you’d like to use), just click here to see your options.

Thank you for your interest and comments! We hope you’ll be keeping up with us at our What’s New page!


Have Clicker Questions? We’ve Got Answers!

March 11, 2008

Well, we’ll get them anyway! I just wanted to share the new page I got up on our site late last night (I guess it was more like the wee hours of this morning!)

We now have a Clicker FAQ page with a submission form for clicker users to submit questions regarding CPS or our other clicker-related products, such as the CPS Chalkboard, ExamView, or our interactive whiteboards.
question mark
If you’ve had a burning question relating to any of these products, I hope you’ll take a minute and shoot it our way. Once questions have been submitted, they will be made into a page on our site and open to comments from other users. My hope is that this will be a way that we can help you and you can help others. If everyone will contribute to both the questions and answers on the FAQ page, it will only help to serve all of us better.

IT Staff: What’s the most commonly heard question you have from teachers?

New Clicker Users: As you get started using clickers, is there anything that is boggling your mind?

Experienced Clicker Users: Do you have any questions about using incorporating ExamView and whiteboards with your clickers?

Come on, we’re just chomping at the bit to answer a question! Give it your best shot!


Enlighten, March 2008

March 6, 2008

Our latest issue of our monthly newsletter, Enlighten, is now posted on our website.

In this issue:

  • Resolution to KU Clicker Fiasco Clickers in the News
  • We Now Offer Interactive Whiteboards
  • 1 vs. 100 in a Clicker Classroom
  • Check Out Our ET Bookshelf
  • Using Clickers in a Station Setting

Feel free to check out our back issues while you’re there! If you would like to have Enlighten delivered directly to your e-mail, you can SUBSCRIBE HERE!


KU Clicker Fiasco Resolved: Critical Mac Update Issued

March 5, 2008

KU jayhawkIf you follow the clicker news as doggedly as I do, you might have heard of the clicker fiasco at the University of Kansas last week. All 923 students aced the test when the clicker system (ours by the way) used to give the tests crashed, erasing scores for the entire class. However, what you probably didn’t hear was how quickly eInstruction jumped on correcting the problem. eInstruction President Steve Kaye personally visited the campus, and a Critical Mac Update was released this week and can be downloaded HERE.

Why did this fiasco occur in the first place?

The issue occurs in the Mac version of the CPS software related to use of Self Paced Testing, also referred to as SMA or Student Managed Assessment. The problem only occurs in the event that ALL four of the following criteria are met:
• You are using the CPS Software on a Mac, AND;
• You are using the CPS RF (w LCD) clicker, AND;
• You are administering multiple versions of a test using SMA (Self Paced) mode, AND;
• You sort the incoming student responses using either the “Name” field or the “Attempted “ field.

What lessons can be learned from this fiasco?

Sorry if I jump on my soapbox real quick, but I think there are a few lessons here!

1. Why do people assume that technology is fail-proof? Anyone who works with technology on a regular basis knows not to assume anything with technology. Although rare, considering how often technology is used everyday all over the world, technology at some point in time might fail. Although a situation like this is extremely rare, we need to be ready for it, not go on a clicker witch hunt and denounce the whole use of clickers in education. Those who feel this “proves their point” that clickers don’t have a place in the classroom obviously haven’t seen them put to good use (and are they–and their students–missing out!).

2. Have a backup plan! This is just reinforcing what I have probably said once or a million times before. Keep a backup copy of the test! If you are going to give a test to 20 students or 932, have students take the test on paper first. In the event that technology does fail, you are covered (and so are your students’ scores). If the student blames the clicker for a question they missed, you always have the paper test to confirm or deny their argument. Now, what about all that paper you are wasting? Well, you were “wasting” it before, and that really isn’t the point of clickers. Their role in test taking is to make grading easier, not primarily saving trees.

3. eInstruction is invested in their product AND their customer service. I think eInstruction’s response was to be commended. It was fantastic to see just how quickly eInstruction got a handle on things and issued a critical update. They sent the company president and a task force to the university and immediately began researching the issue. For this situation to repeat itself would have required that the 4 stars (i.e. the criteria above) aligned just right, but eInstruction jumped right on it and quickly put out a solution. Kudos!

So…the updated version of CPS Mac is available for download HERE. Until then, if you cannot update CPS for Mac at this time, please refrain from sorting incoming student response data when giving a Self Paced Test (SMA) with multiple versions.


Interview with Steve Kaye, president of eInstruction

February 25, 2008

Steve KayeNew president of eInstruction, Steve Kaye, was interviewed by Ken Royal for District Administration Magazine. Steve, formerly Interwrite Learning’s co-president and CEO, speaks to the new direction that combined companies eInstruction and Interwrite Learning will be taking as they move forward after the merger.

Read the interview!


Enlighten, February 2008

February 5, 2008

Our latest issue of our monthly newsletter, Enlighten, is now posted on our website.

In this issue:

  • Special pricing on eInstruction bundles
  • Download a new Quick Reference Guide to help teachers quickly use CPS effectively
  • New versions available for CPS
  • Clickers, Clickers Everyday…CPS training workshop through ESU #3
  • Upcoming demos & training
  • New opportunities for CPS training without ever leaving your computer

Feel free to check out our back issues while you’re there! If you would like to have Enlighten delivered directly to your e-mail, you can SUBSCRIBE HERE!


Clickers…What Are They?

December 20, 2007

niu.jpgI ran across another great presentation on clickers for those of you that are just getting in on this technology and really aren’t sure how it works. This is done by Olga Urban, Online Technologies Coordinator at Northern Illinois University. It is something she put together for the university faculty after Northern Illinois University standardized on eInstruction clickers. In her presentation, she even outlines some of the reasons that they chose eInstruction for standardization. Take a look!


Don’t Forget…Chalkboard Special Ends December 31st!

December 20, 2007

dontforget.jpgYour chance to get a free eInstruction Wireless Chalkboard with every CPS you purchase is ending soon.

Remember…this special is good for all IR and RF purchases($1,495 minimum), including CORE purchases. Sign your CORE agreement and receive discount bulk pricing AND a free chalkboard with every system you order before December 31st!

Have you been hiding in a cave for the last 2 months and didn’t even know there was a chalkboard special? See the details HERE.


Straight from the Professor’s Mouth…CPS at Purdue

December 20, 2007

Purdue LogoPurdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, has employed the use of CPS on its campus for several years. Because of this, Information Technology of Purdue has created an extremely helpful resource page for their students and faculty on the use of CPS clickers on campus. You can check the Information Technology of Purdue’s resource page HERE.

Purdue University recently released a video of clicker testimonials from professors who are actually using the CPS clickers on campus. In my opinion, I don’t ever really bother with too many reviews from the experts when I’m buying a product. I always look at the user reviews, and this is exactly what this video is…user reviews. So, have a listen to what these professors at Purdue University are saying about CPS in their classrooms…straight from the professor’s mouth. See the video…


7 Things You Should Know About…CLICKERS

December 20, 2007

Maybe you’re an old clicker pro and you’ve seen the tried and true effects of using clickers in your very own classroom, but to many educators, this is still a very new technology that they aren’t quite sure about. Maybe you know someone who is still a little “clicker suspicious” or maybe you ARE that very person. As educators, I think we are all a little wary about new trends. We’ve seen so many come and go that is has made us a little more cautious to change than the normal person. Rather than going away, however, clickers are becoming ever more popular in the classroom, not because they are the latest fad, but because teachers AND students are seeing the benefits and reaping the rewards.

For those of you that are a little “clicker suspicious,” take that first step and read this EDUCAUSE article,
7 Things You Should Know About…Clickers
.

This article will clue you in on the following clicker facts:

1 – What is it?
2 – Who’s doing it?
3 – What makes it unique?
4 – Why do we think it’s significant?
5 – what are the downsides for clickers?
6 – Where is it going?
7 – Implications for teaching and learning