Forrest Middle School going high-tech

Wednesday, April 9, 2008
Matt Wheeler of eInstruct conducts an Interwrite/CPS workshop for FMS teachers, from left, Kathy Whitworth, Rhonda Franklin and Kim Stoltz, along with Chapel Hill Elementary School teacher Michelle Curtis.

By Rhonda Poole

For the Tribune

Forrest Middle School is going high-tech with the purchase of Interwrite pads and Classroom Performance Systems (CPS) for use in the 6th, 7th and 8th grade math classes. The system, purchased with funds donated by Joe Moss, First State Bank, Wal-Mart, and Chapel Hill Lions Club, will provide real-time feedback on comprehension during instruction.

Matt Wheeler of eInstruct stopped by FMS recently to train teachers Kim Stoltz (6th grade), Rhonda Franklin (7th grade), Kathy Whitworth (8th grade), and Michelle Curtis (Chapel Hill Elementary School teacher) on the system. Acting as "teacher" he demonstrated the Interwrite pad, which wirelessly connects to a computer and projector. The teachers, playing the role of "students" during training, were given remote control devices to respond to questions asked by Wheeler.

This system gives instructors the freedom to move among their students, Wheeler explained, while being able to interact with their lesson materials projected at the front of the classroom using a standard digital projector. The Interwrite pad can also be passed on to the students so they can be directly involved in the lesson without leaving their seats.

The CPS "clickers," as the remotes are often called, pick up the students' responses to questions by radio or infrared transmitter and send the answers to the teacher's computer. Because the system essentially cuts out the "answer-the-question-out-loud" scenario, the teacher gets 100% participation; therefore, no student feels embarrassed by giving the wrong answer. And because the system stores the students' answers, the teacher has a better idea of subjects that may need to be covered in more detail.

The FMS teachers feel sure that by using this method of teaching a sometimes difficult subject, the students will be better able to learn.