Monday, December 30, 2013

ExitTicket: A New Technology to Keep Students Engaged in Class

By: Sean Scarpiello

In high school and college classes, many teachers utilize student response clickers to keep their students actively engaged in class. While these clickers work well at asking students interactive questions in class, a new technology called ExitTicket looks to be a revolutionary approach towards keeping students involved in their learning process. As keeping students thinking and answering questions in class is vital to their success, ExitTicket appears promising as a no or low-cost technology that can be easily integrated into any class. Further, ExitTicket may even be more beneficial than the student response clickers used frequently in classes today.

The biggest benefit of ExitTicket is that it works completely through the Internet. As a result, schools do not need to buy expensive sets of clickers. Instead, any student with a laptop, tablet, or even a smart phone with a Wi-Fi connection can participate in interactive quizzes during class. While not all students in high school will have a device with Internet access, all college students will likely have a tablet or laptop open to them for ExitTicket. This technology is also easy to use for students. At the beginning of class, teachers can give a single class code to enable all students to gain access to ExitTicket quizzes created by the teacher. Another benefit of ExitTicket’s web based design is that it enables students to visualize, on a projector screen, who has answered the teacher’s questions in class as well as how well the class is answering the questions as a whole.

For teachers, this technology is also extremely beneficial. Tests can be made very easily and designed to have their multiple-choice, true or false, or even free response questions. Plus, ExitTicket allows teachers to review how each individual student has fared on the quizzes. Therefore, teachers can create the quizzes as credit towards class participation, or even better use the entire class’s results as a teaching aid. For example, if a decent percentage of students answer a question incorrectly, the teacher can focus on the teaching this material to the class to ensure all students understand the material. Some teachers may even find novel uses for ExitTicket. For example, teachers can take class polls using a multiple-choice type question. Also, teachers can ask students individual questions they may have using a free response to question. Here, teachers can get a quick and clear view of how students feel about class or material.

When looking at the cost of ExitTicket, there are two main options teachers can choose. First, there is a version that is completely free to teachers. This plan allows teachers to create class quizzes with a maximum of 10 questions for up to eight classes of 60 students. The second plan varies in cost depending on each teacher’s needs. However, this plan includes a lot more features including an unlimited amount of classes with an unlimited number of students. Further, there are features which allow for collaboration and synchronization with other educational technologies. Both the no-cost and customizable plans include a Common Core Standards Library to help teachers stick to their curriculum. Last, teachers can individually manage their ExitTicket account so there is no need for the schools IT department to get involved, thereby keeping this technology simple for everyone

In all, ExitTicket looks to be an extremely beneficial technology to both students and teachers. While it is simple for everyone to use, it also allows students to utilize technologies that they had, instead of requiring an expensive set clickers. Most of all, ExitTicket keeps students actively engaged in the class material while also giving teachers a clear understanding of their student’s grasp of the material. ExitTicket is sure to be a successful as it brings a high quality education to students through the utilization of technology.



Anonymous said...

I took a quick look for myself. On the pro side:

• Automated capture of scores is good for longitudinal studies of individual and group performance.
• Seems easy to construct a test.
• Assuming test is structured well, resulting data promotes effective reteach or further assignment at individual or group level.
• Very little infrastructure for school’s IT staff to install and manage.

On the con side:

• Everyone in the class needs a WiFi-enabled device whether that be computer, pad, phone, etc. Not sure that’s realistic in many school districts.
• Assuming the application runs in the cloud (my take) then this: a) introduces issues of privacy, and b) requires network availability at all times.
• I’ve seen teachers on Vashon avoid integrating new technology because to some extent, it just means more work for them. So the benefits have to be über-compelling for acceptance.
• The system is not applicable to any kind of test whose grading either requires judgment or allows partial credit - i.e. essays or lengthy technical problems where you’re not just getting graded on the final answer/number.

I have no insight into competition or pricing.

I have reservations about a system which, in many cases, will rely on student’s personal cell phones. From a high schooler’s perspective this is just begging for cheating - whether by crowdsourcing answers by texting around the room or looking things up on Google. In fact, I predict an opportunity for “cheating apps” on cell phones to subvert such testing/grading systems.

new teacher said...

Great post! These are some really great ideas that I'll be sure to try out soon. Keep up the good work here!