Here at ELK we are dedicated to making sure kids have ample opportunities to get outdoors and learn science experientially, free from the day-to-day distractions of television, video games, and cell phones. Technology, however, is an important tool in the work we do and can be instrumental in engaging the youth we work with, all of whom are “digital natives” –i.e., someone who was born during or after the general introduction of digital technologia and through interacting with digital technology from an early age, has a greater understanding of its concepts (Wikipedia).
Recognizing that the majority of today’s youth relate to the world around them through a digital lens, ELK’s program staff are excited to be incorporating a new technology tool into their assessment and evaluation toolkit. Student Response Systems, or “e-clickers”, are a fairly common sight on most college campuses these days and starting this fall will be a common sight on ELK programs as well. These small, hand-held, remote control-like devices allow educators to administer surveys and quizzes on an overhead projector or orally and then receive students’ responses digitally!
Not only do students enjoy the novelty of digital interaction, but e-clickers will allow ELK staff to collect student answers instantly on a laptop computer and quickly evaluate how well students are learning science and environmental education concepts. E-clicker technology will improve ELK programs by allowing staff to conduct more rigorous evaluation more often, will save money and resources through reduced printing and paper expenses, and will expose ELK youth to an assessment technology they are likely to encounter in college, or even earlier in their academic careers.
ELK would like to thank The Brennan Family Foundation and Master Tech Solutions, Inc. for their generous support in acquiring this state-of-the-art education technology.