I cannot begin to explain how fortunate I am that I have the somewhat unique power to choose between using either SMART Response XE, SMART Response VE or both. My students are actually open to either one, both having their place in my classroom depending on the requirements of the activity itself. However, the question has come up about when to use one over the other…or both.
Using SMART Response XE alone
SMART Response XE is a powerful math/science responder. Students can enter answers using math/science language, like formulas and symbols. In addition, use of the internet is NOT required, which can definitely be a huge factor. Basically, I would use XE if I wanted students to enter mathematical symbols or if internet functionality is an issue. Also, SMART Response VE is not free. It is subscription based and once my subscription wears out, I will no longer have the luxury of choosing.
Using SMART Response VE
The only down real side to using SMART Response VE is that it does not have the functionality of including math/science symbols, which would honestly increase the value greatly in my opinion. Surely this can be done via an IPAD or ANDROID app option that connects online especially since more and more schools are going to tablet 1:1 learning. (Dear SMART, if you make it I will GLADLY test this out for you!) For me, VE is the present and future of responders as device limitations do not exist. Students can use ANY and I mean ANY device to connect as long as that device can reach the response web address. VE in my classroom opened the door to classroom participation for a few students who could not interact using Response XE due to their special needs since the buttons are kind of small for them. The only requirement is that students can reach the internet, so my special needs students were able to use their computers or tablets which was exciting. At my school, we have open wifi, so I encouraged students to connect via wifi which worked perfectly. When students are responding via Response VE, there is no spatial requirement. Students can still participate anywhere in the world…literally, which is just plain cool. Yesterday, I had a student enter her homework from the dentist office. Since questions can be downloaded to the device, you can even bypass the paper copy, although some students still require it.
Using Both: Connect Multiple Devices
If I were in a 1:1 classroom, using multiple devices would be a non-issue. I would either have students use all XE or all VE. Since we are not 1:1, the multiple device option is especially handy for students who either do not have their own device or who choose to use the XE to save battery life on their own device. By the way, if you are having students use their own devices, it is only fair to set up charging stations for students to recharge. You can accomplish this easily by plugging in a few power strips. You may want to contact your school maintenance or tech department. Aside from a few network issues, which I’m sure are from my own computer, we were able to seamlessly use the multiple device option with no problems and every student had a choice to connect and a voice to speak.
Bottom line is that no matter how you connect with students, all three options have their place and were definitely useful additions to my classroom. If you are unsure how to switch between devices and you have this option, please watch the video below as I explain how to do it.