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Re: [school-discuss] Open Source Classroom Response Software "clickers"

Hi Bryan,

This shouldn't be too hard. The issue will be the drivers to make the hardware talk to software. The software part is easy.

Any ideas about that? (the drivers) I assume that the receiver would be a USB plugin device interface...?

Les Richardson
Open Admin for Schools

On Wed, 5 Sep 2007, William Bryan Jackson wrote:

I am a new member with a question and/or a proposal. I teach chemistry, computer repair and electronics at a high school in Utah. I have recently purchased a classroom response system. It is great but costs about $1000 for the cheapest systems. Does anyone know of an open source initiative to create a system like this? Here is what I have done to date.

I am working on a cheap hardware platform to do the same thing using modified universal remote controls that can be had for $1 to $5 each at wal mart or the dollar store. Using off the shelf components you could put together a classroom response system for $80-$200, instead of $800-$2000 for a comercial sytstem. I have tested modifications to various cheap TV remotes and found it to be simple and cheap to modify a universal remote to perform the function of a student response device. (send a unique ID and an answer, then stop transmitting to allow others to answer)

The next step is to find or build the receiver, which would be a simple infrared receiver connected to the computer. The thing I am not able to do is program an application or plug-in for the open office presentation program. It is my hope to be able to find a group that might have developer talent willing to take on that project.

For those of you not familiar with CRS's they are basically a way to gather answers from each student during a lecture and display a bar chart of how many answered what. Each student gets a remote response device which is generally an infrared or radio transmitter. They look like TV remote controls. A question is asked on the powerpoint and each child can transmit their answer to the computer through a receiver on the computer. The bar chart is then displayed to show how many students are understanding the concept. This allows formative assesment to be used during a lecture. It is an exciting technology that is catching on in high schools and colleges around the country.


Bryan Jackson
Springville High School
Springville UT