Random name-generation software--originally designed to make sure teachers call on girls as frequently as boys--appears to have additional benefits. A University of Florida (UF) researcher has discovered the technology also helps students stay focused and engaged in activities that tend to foster academic achievement.

When teachers use a handheld computer that randomly selects which student to call on, even shy or reluctant pupils will be included in class discussions--and students pay more attention as a result, the researcher found.

Paige Allison, a high school math teacher and educational anthropologist student...

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