Effective Projects Case Study
Technologies at Prospect Mountain JMA School District
is a story about a project that started 1/1/2007.
For more information, please contact: Kaitlyn Gilles
Turning Point Technologies is an in-class remote technology
that allows students to directly engage in their learning, thereby increasing
student participation, learning, enthusiasm, and ultimately, achievement.
Funding: This project was supported by $0 from and $800
in local funds. The project illustrates how federal funding supports “Access - Enhancing existing technology and acquiring
new technology to support education reforms and improve student achievement
(includes servers, desktops, laptops, peripherals).” The project
addressed the following grades and content areas:
The setting for our Turning Point Technologies
project is at Prospect Mountain High
School, a school of approximately 600
students in Alton, NH. PMHS has students from Alton and Barnstead,
two very different communities in terms of family incomes and access to
technology. When students entered my
10th grade World History classes, there was a discrepancy in knowledge and
technology skills between the Alton and Barnstead students. This gap was evident to students, as well,
and many Barnstead students were reluctant to participate in class activities
because they lacked the confidence, skills, and often even the knowledge that
their Alton peers had. With help from
my school’s Technology Director, I was looking for a way to bring technology
into the classroom that would not only allow students from both towns to use
technology, but also give Barnstead students a chance to show themselves, me,
and ultimately their classmates what they know without feeling embarrassed.
The plot: The biggest challenge during the planning phase was
in finding a technology that could motivate student involvement without
extensive training, either on the part of the students or the teacher. In looking at the various technologies
available, we settled on Turning Point technologies because it allowed for
various ways to implement and incorporate the technology into our everyday
lessons and it provided many options for monitoring student achievement.
Perhaps the greatest implementation challenge
was in finding a way to incorporate the technology into several
classrooms/disciplines without having scheduling conflicts. As we had the funds to purchase only one
unit, we decided to pilot the program using only a few teachers at
first. The health teacher and I were
the first to use and test the program; this year he and I also helped train a
science teacher so that more students and teachers could benefit from the
technology. As we have only one unit,
however, we quickly learned that we need to schedule time that we will use it
so that we don’t double-book the system.
While we – teachers and students – would like to see Turning Point
Technology used in every classroom, our resources at this time limits its
The teachers: 2
teachers were directly involved. There were
two teachers initially involved in the implementation of Turning Point
Technologies: me, a Social Studies
teacher, and Mark Anthony, a Health teacher.
Both of us were the first to use and implement Turning Point
technology into our classrooms and lessons.
Since we have begun using this technology, he and I have shown the
rest of our faculty ways to use it in the classroom, and this year one of our
science teachers has begun to incorporate it into their lessons. We hope that we will be able to purchase
more Turning Point units in the future so that more teachers can put it to
use in their classroom!
students: Students learn
more when they are directly involved in the learning process. Many a teacher has faced a class full of
students who lack motivation and become easily bored or distracted during
notes/lectures or other activities.
How then, do we engage students in their own learning? Turning Point Technology gives each student
in a class a remote device through which they can answer questions developed
by the teacher. Teachers have the
option to have students answer individually, or to set the students up in
teams, which the program keeps track of.
I have found that the students are far more engaged when they use
Turning Point. They love being able to
answer questions remotely. For
students who are shy and rarely participate in class, Turning Point allows
them to take part and answer questions without speaking in front of their
peers, thereby giving me an immediate idea of whether they understand the
material and bringing them into the lesson.
Learning has become far more student-centered, with students taking an
active part in their education and enjoying it at the same time! My students beg to use Turning Point (the
“Clicker Game,” as they call it), and I know they are all following along
when I use it because they never know when a question will come at them!
The Turning Point Technology software has the
capability to monitor students individually when they submit their answers,
so it was very easy to get immediate results on students. I could view exactly which questions they
got wrong or right as well as get overall percentages of correct and
incorrect answers for the class as a whole for any given question. This then allowed me to see which students
understood the material so that I could immediately adjust what I was doing
to better help my students. Over the
course of the year, I have noticed that students are far more engaged with
their learning, which has resulted in higher test scores, better class
participation, and an overall enthusiasm for the subject matter and learning
The difference: In
using the Turning Point Technology, my students have become more engaged in
their learning and I have seen a direct improvement in their test scores and
overall performance in class. It has
been particularly useful for lower-level students, who often try to disengage
themselves from learning. When
presented, however, with a remote by which they can respond to questions
about the lesson, they show greater enthusiasm and attention, which is key
with so many teenagers. It has also
provided the Barnstead students with a chance to participate in class without
publicly highlighting the discrepancy between them and their Alton
peers. They are more willing to
participate when they know they will not be embarrassed by the obvious
knowledge gap between Alton and Barnstead students. In participating, students engage with and
better learn the material, thereby helping them to close the gap and gain
self-confidence in their skills and knowledge. While the improved test results and classroom performance gives us
concrete data that Turning Point Technology has benefited student learning,
the true proof of its impact on student learning has been the enthusiasm from
the students who cannot wait to use it when they come into the classroom. All of a sudden, taking notes is fun! While I love to see my students do well on
their assessments, it has been their increased enthusiasm and engagement in
their learning that has been the true reward for me.
conditions: Aside from having the resources
(LCD projector, computer, etc.) to implement the actual Turning Point
Technology software, having a supportive technology director and
administration was crucial to the success of this project. This was a brand new technology for this building,
and Mark Anthony and I were willing and able to pilot this program because we
had the support and encouragement of our administration. While we had no formal training on the
software, our Technology Director was always willing to work with us in
figuring out how to navigate the technology.
The other essential condition, of course, was to have students who
were willing to try something new, despite the occasional user and software
errors. Many of the software errors we
have eliminated with the most recent updates to the system, and as the
program begins to run more smoothly, everyone – teachers and students –
continues to benefit!
for the future: There is very
little I would change in terms of the way I implement this project in the
future. I plan to continue using
Turning Point Technologies in all of my classes. I do hope one day to use it as an actual
testing tool, rather than pen-and-paper tests, but there are still some
bugs in the program that need to be worked out before I actually use it for
official test scores. Hopefully with
the next software update, official testing will become a possibility. There is also very little I would change in terms
of the way I evaluate this project in the future. I will continue exploring the different
student evaluation methods within the software, and perhaps look into
conducting a formal study on the impact on students grades/assessment results
so that more units can possibly be purchased, thereby expanding our program
throughout our school.
Recommendations: My recommendation for any school district that
intends to incorporate Turning Point Technology into their classrooms is to
use it often and to have fun with it.
Engage students in their own learning and show them that new
technology is not only “fun,” but also educational!
our story: Mark Anthony and I have shared
our results and demonstrated the program with our faculty in faculty meetings
earlier this year. We have also showcased
the program during our school’s annual Winter Carnival, using it for the Quiz
Bowl event that incorporates the entire student and faculty body. We have shared information about Turning
Point Technologies in the school newsletter that goes home to all parents,
and parents have had the opportunity to test the program on Open House and
Academic Night, when parents and community members come into the school to
meet teachers and see what students have been learning and doing.
to share: N/A