Free tool lets students participate during class

Microsoft's free program allows for collaborative PowerPoint presentations.
Microsoft's free program allows for collaborative PowerPoint presentations.

Joining in the effort to keep students engaged in the classroom, Microsoft on April 30 announced a new addition to its PowerPoint software that allows students to participate in classroom presentations. The best news: It’s available free of charge.

The new tool, called Mouse Mischief, allows teachers to add multiple choice, yes/no, and drawing questions to their presentations. Students then use any computer mice (any device from the school will work) to answer these questions. The tool also allows for whole-class or individual student responses.

“We’ve observed classrooms around the world, and it’s a no-brainer that technology has the power to engage students—but not every classroom has the budget to afford new technology,” said Nasha Fitter, senior product manager for Microsoft in an interview with eSchool News.…Read More

Professor to students: Text away

Students' text message questions are screened before they're posted for peers to read.
Students' text-message questions are screened before they're posted for peers to read.

Georgia State University students who don’t want to yell their questions from the back of a cavernous lecture hall now have another option: They can send text messages to their professor, who reads the queries from an overhead screen.

David McDonald, director of emerging technologies and an associate professor in the Atlanta-based university’s business school, is inviting the use of text messaging during class while many educators are instituting strict rules against the practice.

The texting program—similar to handheld student response systems—is being used in about 15 Georgia State business courses this school year.…Read More