Implementing the interactive response system in a high school physics context: Intervention and reflections

Ruey S. Shieh, Wheijen Chang


The interactive response system (IRS) has been widely used to promote student learning since 2003. It is an electronic system connected to handset devices allowing students to transmit their responses by pressing the desired buttons and meanwhile allowing the teacher to monitor and track individual students' answers anonymously and statistically. However, there is limited research examining the challenges teachers may encounter when designing IRS-based questions and providing mediations which may lead them to develop quality questions. The purpose of this study is to address this research gap by investigating one high school teacher's IRS implementation based on both the teacher's and students' teaching/learning experiences as well as presenting an intervention to help the teacher develop higher quality IRS questions. High quality questions denote questions that are able to help students engage in deeper thinking and eventually lead to comprehensive understanding of the concepts learned. The data sources consist of tests, classroom observations, interviews, face-to-face meetings, and email correspondence. The findings disclose that enhancing the teacher's content knowledge and capability of recognizing the students' learning pitfalls is the foundation to developing quality IRS questions. Collaboration established between the teacher and a university physics education expert appears to have effectively helped both participants gain insights and knowledge into designing quality questions aimed at identifying the students' learning bottlenecks.


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