SMART Response has gone through some major changes. There have been a lot of questions and I wanted to address those as well as explain why these changes are happening.
What happened to SMART Response?
SMART discontinued making clickers 2014 when demand for clickers dropped. As schools purchased more student devices, like Chromebooks and iPads, there was no longer a need to have the old response clicker. SMART saw the future would not have a physical clicker on the desk but a student device. In April 2016 SMART released Notebook 16 which became a transition for response. This was the last version of Notebook software to include support for Response. This also included a beta of a new version of SMART Response that was redesigned from the ground up. This new version is called Response 2.
Why did Response get replaced?
The Response software code was old and expensive to maintain. It was cumbersome to use and limiting in what features could be added. To better meet the needs of teaches, SMART needed to rebuild Response from the ground up. Rebuilding gave SMART a great opportunity to start fresh and build a more effective tool. Based on information from teachers, the following were some of the key points for a new version of Response:
- Simple and easy to use
- Import old question sets from Response
- Mainly an in-class formative assessment tool
- Web-enabled student devices are the future of the classroom
What if I am still using clickers?
Student devices are great and replacing your clickers with Chromebooks or iPads sounds great, but your budget may not be ready to make that happen. So what do you do if you don’t quite have your set of Chromebooks or iPads yet and still use the clickers for formative assessment in class? The answer is quite simple: install Notebook 16.0 and don’t update until you have sufficient access to student devices. If you still want to use the latest features in Notebook, then I would suggest you get an older computer (maybe a surplussed one) and install Notebook 16.0 to be used just for Response. I realize those solutions aren’t ideal, but remember this is just a temporary step until you get student devices in your classroom. Many of the new features in Notebook 16.1 have been focusing on student devices.
What is in the future for assessment?
Notebook 16.1 included a cool new feature in the LAB called Monster Quiz. This allows the teacher to create several multiple choice questions that get released to students on their devices and which they compete to answer. It is a very fun way to do formative assessment. The class gets divided into teams and the teams compete. Each student takes the assessment on their own, but the amount of time and number they get right gets factored into their team score. Formative assessment has never been so fun! Also, if a student gets a question wrong, that question returns to ensure understanding. Both Response 2 and Monster Quiz have an easy and similar interface for the teacher to create questions. Both use the classlab.com website meaning the students connect to one site for all SMART lab activities. I am excited to see how these features will continue to improve!
A Brief History of SMART Response
- 2007 – SMART released the Senteo clickers sometime in 2007 (best I can tell). As a teacher I remember seeing an ad for these and was amazed what they could do. I talked to my principal and by early 2008 I had a set for my classroom. It was exciting to be able to get instantly graded assessments.
- 2008 – In November the software got an upgrade to Senteo 2, giving more capabilities in what it could do. These early versions had some major flaws, the first being that it was all built in Flash which caused stability issues and it was limiting for future growth.
- 2009 – SMART rebuilt their assessment software from the ground up as well as introduced more clicker types: LE clickers for early learners and XE for higher end math and science. The new software introduced more question types and accommodated the new clicker types further expanding out students can respond. The new software also changed what could be done with the results such as reports or exporting to a gradebook program like Powergrade or Excel for more intense data analysis.
- 2010 – Excitement began building for student devices with the release of the iPad.
- 2011 – Google introduces the Chromebook. SMART responded by releasing a Response VE that allowed students to use any web-enabled device as a clicker.
- 2014 – As the number of student devices continued to grow, the need for a physical clickers declined. SMART discontinued making physical Response clickers.
- 2015 – Over the next couple years it became difficult and expensive to maintain the Response software and the back-end structure was such that it didn’t allow room for growth like was needed. Teachers also complained that SMART Response was complicated to setup and difficult to use. A change was needed.
- April 2016 – SMART released Notebook 16 with Response 2 in beta. It can be found in the Add-ons tab (puzzle piece). Only supports multiple-choice questions. This is the last version of Notebook to support Response with physical clickers.
- August 2016 – Notebook 16.1 is released. Response 2 has taken the place of Response in the toolbar. This version included many of the following features
- Short answer question type
- The ability to import previous assessments (with some limitations)
- The ability to export results to Excel
- Easy integration with LAB and other Lab activities
- 2017 – Expect to see many new features and improvements to Response 2. I would anticipate more question types as one of the key features.