Monday, April 20, 2015

Collect Student Responses Easily with the NEW The Answer Pad

One of my favorite student response systems is The Answer Pad.  This week The Answer Pad released a new version of itself, a sleeker and cleaner interface with some excellent new features.  I participated in the beta testing and am anxious to start regularly using this new version of a great tool.  The color scheme and graphics look new and fresh, but those changes are just the beginning.  

 Here's what you can look forward to:

Log in to the new version and you are greeted by a new home screen with six choices - set up answer sheets, interactive, reports, portfolio, library or news.  I clicked on Interactive first because that is the way I like to use TAP best.  Here you can send out screens for students to answer the questions you ask on-the-fly during lessons.  There are some significant changes here.  First, a new option for Quick Connect means that students no longer need accounts to use this tool.  Now they can use a 5 letter code to instantly connect.  This is a major time saver and a significant plus in the new version.  Once in interactive mode, teachers can send out screens for multiple choice, true/false, yes/no, thumbs up/down, a fill-in box, a slider, or a blank drawing for students to use for responses.  Teachers see the responses in real-time and can capture and save to a portfolio.  There are also 12 free templates available in the free version and the ability to upload templates in the premium version.  I like that users can now designate templates as favorites and those are stored in a favorites folder so if you never intend to use the music staff or clock faces, you don't have to favorite those.

In addition to using The Answer Pad interactively, you can also create answer sheets that students can use with a paper test or quiz (free version) or paperlessly (premium feature).  These will be graded by The Answer Pad and reports are stored in the account.  Here is a chart that shows some of the different features available with different accounts:

The Answer Pad is an easy to use, intuitive tool, but they offer lots of help too.  Click on LEARN in the upper right hand corner of the screen and you'll go to a tutorial area with 13 videos, each showcasing a different feature, and a presentation that you can use for training.  I clicked through the slides and learned a few things.

In my classroom I have enjoyed using this tool on iPads using an app formerly called TAPit that will now be called Answer Pad (formerly called TAPit).  The iOS app is not yet ready, but is expected at the end of April.  The Android app is available.  For now, it can be accessed on any web-enabled device.  

This was already a great tool with a generous free account.  Now it is an even better one.  If you are looking for a quick way to gauge student understanding during lessons while engaging them in the content, check out the new version of The Answer Pad.

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