PA schools adopt handheld tech for test-taking

Qwizdom devices allow teachers to see student responses instantly.

No longer will elementary students at several Pennsylvania schools scribble their answers on paper when a teacher gives a pop quiz. This year, teachers at some Penn Hills elementary schools will be using remote devices to answer test questions, and the answer will appear on teachers' computer monitors, reports The Penn Hills Progress.

Students at Penn Hebron Elementary Academy, Dible Elementary School, William Penn Elementary School and Linton Middle School are part of a pilot program which uses Qwizdom remotes, an mClass handheld. The technology is also used for audience feedback in product testing.

Teachers have undergone training on how to use the devices for DIBELS (Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills) assessments. They can correct responses as students give verbal answers to questions, and give results of assessments for each student. They then can upload information onto a secure Web site to view reports on the class and individual students.

By all measures, the devices seem popular. Sally Myers, the district's secondary education technology coordinator, said: "We are trying to make sure we don't waste resources. We can't waste a kid's education. Part of our responsibility is to make sure every child has access to what they need."

"We do not use technology because it exists. Every choice we make is expensive for the cost of training and cost of time," says Myers.