Saturday, December 22, 2007

Clickers, Infrared, and Fluorescent Lights

I was recently visiting a with a second grade teacher who was having trouble using his student response system (Clickers). After doing some testing with his students, I had a sudden flashback to a problem that some of my teachers had with their Palms when they tried to beam in their classrooms. Both Palms and the Clickers use infrared technology to beam information and sometimes fluorescent lights cause the infrared not to work very well. In the case of the Palms, the students just had to move away from the "dead zone" to another part of the room. However, with the Clickers, all students are beaming at one time while sitting at their desks. With the lights on, students had to click in their answers several times before their response was received.

We experimented and found that with all of the lights out, the students were able to click in much faster-approximately half the time it took when the lights were all on. We also tried clicking in with one or two (of three) banks of classroom lights turned off; in both situations students had an easier time of clicking in their answers than when all of the lights were turned on. Lastly, we tried repositioning t
he receiver. The best place for the receiver was where all kids were able to see it. The one thing that we found was that students had to be careful about pointing their clickers directly at the receiver rather than 45 degrees above it.



At 7:55 AM, Blogger Andy Losik said...

Those crazy lights cause all kinds of havoc in my classroom. With my TV and VCR mounted closely to the ceiling, the fluorescent lights like to randomly rewind tapes. Luckily the fact that the machine is now obsolete, we don't have too many problems.

At home, we have the problem of too many remotes. Once a night my wife turns down the TV only to turn on the iHome iPod dock in the kitchen. Weird!

At 11:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You should get a Student Response System that uses radio frequency not IR. I use Qwizdom and have never had a problem with any "interferences" with lights or other wireless technology.


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home