Title:
System and method for assisting in classroom education
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An instructional system having a simultaneously viewable multi-question display, a participant input device associated with said set of participant information in communication with a computer readable medium, a set of question information contained within said computer readable medium having a plurality of questions, a response section for each participant, a plurality of response portions included in said response section associated with a question, a question indicator for indicating which question is the current question, and a set of computer readable instructions for displaying said response section and said question indicator, receiving participant input, actuating said question indicator to display a received answer indicator in response to receiving participant input for indicating that participant input as been received, and associating said participant input with said current question.



Inventors:
Allen, Christopher S. (Columbia, SC, US)
Application Number:
11/522712
Publication Date:
03/29/2007
Filing Date:
09/18/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63F9/18
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
FLETCHER, JERRY-DARYL
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Burr Forman LLP (Charlotte, NC, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. An instructional system having a simultaneously viewable multi-question display comprising: a computer readable medium; a multi-viewable display in communication with said computer readable medium; a participant input device in communication with said computer readable medium; a set of question information contained within said computer readable medium having a plurality of questions; a response section displayed on said multi-viewable display for each participant of said participant information; a plurality of response portions included in said response section wherein each response portion is associated with a question from said set of question information; a question indicator included in said response section for indicating which question from said set of question information is the current question selected by the participant for association with said participant input; and, a set of computer readable instructions contained in said computer readable medium for displaying on said multi-viewable display said response section, response portions, and question indicator, receiving participant input from said participant input device, actuating said question indicator to display a received answer indicator in response to receiving participant input from said participant input device for indicating that participant input as been received from said participant input device, and associating said participant input with said current question.

2. The system of claim 1 including: valid answer information associated with each question of said question information representing a valid response to each of said questions; and, said computer readable instructions include instructions for comparing said participant input for said current question with said valid answer information associated with said current question and actuating said response section to display a valid answer indicator if said participant input is valid.

3. The system of claim 1 wherein said computer readable instructions include instructions for receiving a second participant input from said participant input device for said current question, comparing said second participant input with said participant input for said current question and actuating said response section to display a changed answer indicator if said participant input and said second participant input differ.

4. The system of claim 1 wherein said computer readable instructions include instructions for receiving a second participant input from said participant input device for said current question and actuating said response section to display a answer exists indicator so that the participant is informed that a previous answer for the current question exists.

5. The system of claim 1 wherein said computer readable instructions include instructions for determining if participant input has been received for each question in said set of questions and actuating said response section to display an all answers exist indicator so that the participant is informed that participant input has been received for all questions.

6. The system of claim 1 wherein said computer readable instructions include instructions for sizing at least one response portion of said response section according to the number of response portions in said response section so that said response portions generally extend to the width of said response section.

7. The system of claim 1 wherein said computer readable instructions include instructions for refusing to accept participant input from said participant input device when said computer readable instructions have a status of decline answers and for accepting participant input from said participant input device when said computer readable instructions have a status of accept answers.

8. The system of claim 1 including: point information associated with each question in said set of question information; and, said computer readable instructions include instructions for determining a score according to said participant input and said point information for each participant.

9. A method for interacting with participants using a simultaneously viewable multi-question display comprising the steps of: displaying on said multi-viewable display a response section for each participant so that said response section is simultaneously viewable; displaying a plurality of response portions on said multi-viewable display associated with said response section wherein each response portion is associated with a question to be presented; displaying a question indicator on said multi-viewable display associated with said response section for indicating the current question representing the currently selected question selected by the participant for association with participant input; receiving participant input; actuating said question indicator in response to receiving participant input for indicating that participant input as been received; and, associating said participant input with said current question.

10. The method of claim 9 including the steps of: determining whether said participant input is valid; and, actuating said response section to display a valid response indicator if said participant input is valid.

11. The method of claim 9 including the steps of: receiving a second participant input from the participant for said current question; comparing said second participant input with said participant input for said current question; and, actuating said response section to display a changed answer indicator if said participant input and said second participant input differ.

12. The method of claim 9 including the steps of: receiving a second participant input from the participant for said current question; and, actuating said response section to display an answer exists indicator so that the participant is informed that a previous answer for the current question exists.

13. The method of claim 9 including the steps of: determining if participant input has been received for each question; and, actuating said response section to display an all answers exist indicator so that the participant is informed that participant input has been received for all questions.

14. The method of claim 9 including the step of sizing at least one response portion of said response section according to the number of response portions in said response section so that said response portions generally extend to the width of said response section.

15. The method of claim 9 including the steps of: determining whether participant input should be accepted according to a status indicator; refusing to accept participant input when said status indicator is set to decline answers; and, accepting participant input when said status indicator is set to accept answers.

16. The method of claim 9 including the steps of: providing point information associated with each question to be presented to the participant; and, determining a score according to said participant input and said point information for each participant.

17. An instructional system having a simultaneously viewable multi-question display comprising: a computer readable medium; and, a set of computer readable instructions contained in said computer readable medium for displaying on said multi-viewable display a response section for each participant having a plurality of response portions wherein each response portion is associated with a question to be presented to the participant and a question indicator included in said response section for indicating which question is the current question selected by the participant for association with participant input from a participant input device, receiving participant input from said participant input device, actuating the said question indicator to display a received answer indicator in response to receiving participant input from said participant input device for indicating that participant input as been received, and associating said participant input with said current question according to said question indicator.

18. The system of claim 17 wherein said computer readable instructions include instructions for comparing said participant input received from said participant input device for said current question with a set of valid answer information associated with each question of said question information representing a valid response to each of said questions and actuating said response section to display a valid answer indicator if said participant input is valid.

19. The system of claim 17 wherein said computer readable instructions include instructions for receiving a second participant input from said participant input device for said current question, comparing said second participant input with said participant input for said current question and actuating said response section to display a changed answer indicator if said participant input and said second participant input differ.

20. The system of claim 17 wherein said computer readable instructions include instructions for receiving a second participant input from said participant input device for said current question and actuating said response section to display an answer exists indicator so that the participant is informed that a previous answer for the current question exists.

21. The system of claim 17 wherein said computer readable instructions include instructions for determining if participant input has been received for each question in said set of questions and actuating said response section to display an all answers exist indicator so that the participant is informed that participant input has been received for all questions.

22. The system of claim 17 wherein said computer readable instructions include instructions for sizing at least one response portion of said response section according to the number of response portions in said response section so that said response portions generally extend to the width of said response section.

23. The system of claim 17 wherein said computer readable instructions include instructions for comparing said participant input received from said participant input device for said current question with a set of valid answer information associated with each question of said question information representing a valid response to each of said questions and actuating said response section to display an invalid answer indicator if said participant input is invalid.

24. The method of claim 9 including the steps of: determining whether said participant input is valid; and, actuating said response section to display an invalid response indicator if said participant input is invalid.

25. The system of claim 1 including: valid answer information associated with each question of said question information representing a valid response to each of said questions; and, said computer readable instructions include instructions for comparing said participant input for said current question with said valid answer information associated with said current question and actuating said response section to display an invalid answer indicator if said participant input is invalid.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims priority on provisional patent application Ser. No. 60/717,897, filed Sep. 16, 2005, entitled System and Method for Assisting in Classroom Education.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention is directed to a system and method for assisting in the instructional process which can be used in a classroom setting. More particularly, this invention is directed to a system and method for allowing participants to proceed at their own pace and to simultaneously view a response section showing questions to be answered and whether the participant has provided responses to all the questions.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

In the traditional instructional setting, instruction is provided to participants by an instructor. The participants are expected to retain the information learned from the instructor and the instruction material. To measure the participants' progress, tests are provided to the participants so that, when completed and graded, the instructor is provided with feedback concerning the effectiveness of the instruction and the comprehension and retention of information by the participants. Further, the participants are made aware of areas needing further study and improvement based upon the test results. Therefore, the testing process is valuable feedback for both the instructor and participant and is advantageous in the instructional process. However, processing and grading tests is time-consuming and unnecessarily uses valuable, instructional class time if performed during the instructional classroom period. To avoid such unnecessary delay, tests are typically graded after class with the results made available to the instructor and participants at some later time.

It would be advantageous to provide a testing system for instructional use that eliminated the delay caused by the traditional grading process and allowed for immediate feedback. It would be advantageous to provide such a testing system that did not compromise the traditional testing process.

One such testing method is through the use of multiple-choice responses. Traditionally, the multiple-choice process allows the participants to “skip-around” the presented questions and respond to the questions in any order preferred by the participant. For example, one strategy which may be employed is to first answer all the questions that the participant is reasonably certain as to the correct answer, and then subsequently respond to the remaining questions. It is advantageous when using this method for the participant to be able to quickly determine which questions have responses according to participant input and which questions do not.

Previous attempts to provide such a system have undermined the traditional multiple-choice process. These attempts have created disadvantages to the participant by not allowing quick review of all answered and unanswered questions. Such a disadvantage can undermine a participant's performance in providing inaccurate feedback simply due to the technology used. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 6,895,213 provides for a communication system for communicating with participants in an educational environment. However, this patent is limited to the display of a single response and single question per participant and does not allow the participant to easily determine which questions do not have responses.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

This invention is an instructional system and method having a simultaneously viewable multi-question display comprising, a computer readable medium, a participant input device in communication with the computer readable medium, a set of question information contained within the computer readable medium having a plurality of questions, a response section displayed on the multi-viewable display for each participant of the participant information, a plurality of response portions included in the response section wherein each response portion is associated with a question from the set of question information, a question indicator included in the response section for indicating which question from the set of question information is the current question selected by the participant for association with the participant input, and a set of computer readable instructions contained in the computer readable medium for displaying on the multi-viewable display the response section, response portions, and question indicator, receiving participant input from the participant input device, actuating the question indicator to display a received answer indicator in response to receiving participant input from the participant input device for indicating that participant input as been received from the participant input device, and associating the participant input with the current question.

The invention can include valid answer information associated with each question of the question information representing a valid response to each of the questions, and the computer readable instructions include instructions for comparing the participant input for the current question with the valid answer information associated with the current question and actuating the response section to display a valid answer indicator or invalid answer indicator if the participant input is valid or invalid respectively.

This invention can include computer readable instructions include instructions for receiving a second participant input from the participant input device for the current question, comparing the second participant input with the participant input for the current question and actuating the response section to display a changed answer indicator if the participant input and the second participant input differ, receiving a second participant input from the participant input device for the current question and actuating the response section to display a answer exists indicator so that the participant is informed that a previous answer for the current question exists, determining if participant input has been received for each question in the set of questions and actuating the response section to display an all answers exist indicator so that the participant is informed that participant input has been received for all questions, sizing at least one response portion of the response section according to the number of questions in the question information so that the response portions generally extend the width of the response section, refusing to accept participant input from the participant input device when the computer readable instructions have a status of decline answers and for accepting participant input from the participant input device when the computer readable instructions have a status of accept answers.

This invention can include point information associated with each question in the set of question information and the computer readable instructions include instructions for determining a score according to the participant input and the point information for each participant.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The invention and its advantages will be understood more completely with reference to the following description and accompanying drawings where:

FIG. 1 is a schematic of the invention;

FIG. 2 is a front view of the response screen;

FIG. 3 is a front view of the response remote;

FIG. 4 is a front view of a response results screen;

FIG. 5 is a front view of a question screen;

FIG. 6 is a flowchart of the invention;

FIG. 7 is a flowchart of the invention; and,

FIG. 8 is a flowchart of the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

An object or module is a section of computer readable code embodied in a computer. The detailed description that follows may be presented in terms of program procedures executed on a computer or network of computers. These procedural descriptions are representations used by those skilled in the art to most effectively convey the substance of their work to others skilled in the art. These procedures herein described are generally a self-consistent sequence of steps leading to a desired result. These steps require physical manipulations of physical quantities such as electrical or magnetic signals capable of being stored, transferred, combined, compared, or otherwise manipulated readable medium that is designed to perform a specific task or tasks. Actual computer or executable code or computer readable code may not be contained within one file or one storage medium but may span several computers or storage mediums. The term “host” and “server” may be hardware, software, or combination of hardware and software that provides the functionality described herein.

The present invention is described below with reference to flowchart illustrations of methods, apparatus (“systems”) and computer program products according to the invention. It will be understood that each block of a flowchart illustration can be implemented by a set of computer readable instructions or code. These computer readable instructions may be loaded onto a general purpose computer, special purpose computer, or other programmable data processing apparatus to produce a machine such that the instructions will execute on a computer or other data processing apparatus to create a means for implementing the functions specified in the flowchart block or blocks.

These computer readable instructions may also be stored in a computer readable medium that can direct a computer or other programmable data processing apparatus to function in a particular manner, such that the instructions stored in a computer readable medium produce an article of manufacture including instruction means that implement the functions specified in the flowchart block or blocks. Computer program instructions may also be loaded onto a computer or other programmable apparatus to produce a computer executed process such that the instructions are executed on the computer or other programmable apparatus provide steps for implementing the functions specified in the flowchart block or blocks. Accordingly, elements of the flowchart support combinations of means for performing the special functions, combination of steps for performing the specified functions and program instruction means for performing the specified functions. It will be understood that each block of the flowchart illustrations can be implemented by special purpose hardware based computer systems that perform the specified functions, or steps, or combinations of special purpose hardware or computer instructions. The present invention is now described more fully herein with reference to the drawings in which the preferred embodiment of the invention is shown. This invention may, however, be embodied any many different forms and should not be construed as limited to the embodiment set forth herein. Rather, these embodiments are provided so that this disclosure will be thorough and complete and will fully convey the scope of the invention to those skilled in the art.

Referring now to FIG. 1, computer readable medium 10 can be in electronic communication with a general purpose computer 12 for receiving, storing, and manipulation data and computer readable instructions. The computer can be any such computer known in the art including desk tops, laptops, mainframes or other computing devices. Display device 14 can be in electronic communication with computer 12 for displaying information, such as a response screen, to an individual or a group. The display is simultaneously viewable to each participant in the instructional facility to allow each participant to view information without the need for individual displays.

In one embodiment, a wireless receiver 16 is in electronic communication with computer 12 and can receive data communications from participant input device 18. The participant input device contains a transmitter 20 for transmitting participant input. Data communications between participant input device 18 and computer 12 can be in wireless form such as radio frequency (RF), infrared (IR) or other wireless means or through wired communications.

Prior to using the invention in the testing process, it may be desirable to have responses to questions associated with specific participants or specific participant input devices. Responses can be determined to be correct or incorrect and each participant can be provided with a score. Each question can have point information representing the number of points awarded for a correct answer. The score can be the aggregate points or a percentage of points from the total possible points. In one embodiment, participant input device 18 can have identification information 22 that can be associated with participant information 24. Because participant input 26 can be associated with identification information 22, participant input 26 can also be associated with participant information 24. Further, current question 28 can also be associated with participant input device identification information 22 and, therefore, participant information 24 so that the current question in which to associate the participant's input can be tracked.

Valid responses can be associated with questions contained in a set of question information. For example, a first question 30 can have valid responses A through D, shown as 32a-d, while second question 34 may have valid responses A and B, shown as 36a-b. Therefore, when participant input is received, computer readable instructions can determine if the participant's input is a valid response.

In one embodiment, each participant can be assigned a participant input device. The participant is then presented with a question and can use the participant input device to respond to the question. Questions can be presented to the participant in a variety of forms including written, oral, visually displayed on display 14 or displayed on individual displays for each participant. In one embodiment, participant input device 18 includes a display and is operable to receive questions from computer readable medium 10 and display them to the participant. In one embodiment, response screen 38 (FIG. 2) is displayed on display 14 allowing the entire class to view the response screen. The response screen has a participant input device identification information 40 which is associated with participant input device 22. Therefore, the participant can view the response screen and identify the section associated with the participant's remote. A response section 41 is associated with each participant's input device and participant's input device identification information. For each remote bar, there is a question indicator 42 that indicates the current question for which the participant input will be associated. Each response section is associated with response portions 44a-h associated with each question to be answered. Each response portion can have a status indicator which is actuated by the computer readable instructions according to various participant's input. For example, the status indicator could have received answer indicator to indicate that the participant has provided participant input. The status indicator could have a valid answer indicator, such as turning green, to indicate that the participant has submitted a valid response. The status indicator could have a changed answer indicator, such as flashing yellow, to indicate that the participant has provided a second participant input which differs from the first input provided. The status indicator can be in response portions 44a-h, participant input device identification information 40, question indicator 42 or otherwise in response section 41. Therefore, the participant can quickly view response screen 38 to determine if each question has received a response or whether the participant needs to provide a response.

The participant can move or navigate question indicator 42 among the response portions so that the participant can indicate that the participant input is intended to be for a particular question. Therefore, the participant can answer questions in any order desired while quickly being able to determine which questions have responses and which do not.

The response portions can vary in size so that the response portions generally extend the width of the response section. For Example, if there are ten questions, each response portion would generally be half the size of the response portions for a response section having only five questions.

In one embodiment, participant input is provided through the use of a wireless participant input device 20 illustrated in FIG. 3. Device 20 contains a plurality of input buttons, shown generally as 48, which can be associated with alpha-numeric input from the participant. The participant activates one of the input buttons to transmit the participant input to computer 12. The participant input device may also include TRUE and FALSE buttons or YES and NO buttons. Navigation buttons, shown generally as 50, can also be included to indicate that the question indicator should be moved to another response portion and display 14 updated to reflect the movement of the question indicator. In one embodiment, a login button 52 is provided to indicate to computer 12 that the participant input device is ready to operate. Each participant input device can have identification information representing the ID of each participant input device.

Referring now to FIG. 4, results screen 54 is shown. By associating the participant input device with the participant and the participant input, each participant's responses can be displayed. Further, the participant responses for each question can be shown as well as the percentage of correct responses. Further, statistical analysis of the class responses can be performed such as averages, standard deviations, most frequently missed, and other such calculations.

In one embodiment, actual inquiries associated with each question can be provided. Referring to question viewing screen 60 of FIG. 5, several questions can be shown having associated responses. Points can be associated with certain answers so that a score can be determined from the participant input and the point information.

Referring now to FIG. 6, computer readable instructions are processed by computer 12 and the invention starts at step 66. If a roster is to be created at step 68, roster data is entered at step 69 that allows an instructor to enter class information, school information, instructor information or other information associated with the instructional process. If participant information is to be entered at step 70, the participant information can include the participant's name, enrollment information, and can be associated with participant's input device at step 74.

At step 78, the instructor may decide to create a class lesson. If so, the questions, if any, are displayed at step 80. If a question is to be added or edited at step 82, the question number is selected at step 84 and the question text is edited at step 86. In one embodiment, the question can be blank so that the invention receives and records responses without the invention having an associated question. In step 88, valid responses are associated with the question. For example, the first question may be associated with valid responses A-D, while a second question may be associated with the responses TRUE and FALSE. At step 90, the correct answer can be indicated in one embodiment. In one embodiment, there may not be a correct answer such as if the question is more akin to a survey, rather than a test.

Referring now to FIG. 7, test or survey questions are provided to the participants and the response screen is displayed at step 92. The participants can navigate the question indicator to different response portions at step 94. If the participant elects to move to the prior question, a determination as to whether the current question is the first question is made at step 98. If not, the question indicator is moved at step 100. If the participant elects to move to the next question, a determination is made at step 102 as to whether the question indicator is on the last question and, if not, the question indicator is moved right at step 104.

The invention can have a status of accepting answers so that the participant's input is received and processed by the invention. If answers are accepted at step 106, participant input is received at step 108. A determination as to whether the response is valid at step 110 can be made. If the response is valid, a determination as to whether a previous response has been provided is made at step 112. If so, the question indicator can display an indicator that a previous response existed at step 114. The question indicator is modified to indicate a response exists at step 116. In one embodiment, an indication is made showing the participant has answered all the questions. Further, when all questions have been answered, the participant can indicate whether the participant wishes to revisit answers or whether the participant wishes to conclude the test or survey.

Once the test or survey is concluded, the instructor can select several display methods to provide feedback to the class. Graphs can be selected for display at step 118. If selected, the graph shown in FIG. 5 can be displayed at step 120. If the instructor wishes to display a graph for another question at step 122, a different question is selected at step 124 and displayed at step 120. If the instructor wishes to display a desk screen at step 126, the display of the arrangement of the classroom is displayed at step 128. The desk screen is a graphical representation of the physical layout of the classroom showing response associated with physical location within the classroom for the current question. The instructor can also decide to display the participants' names at step 130 and if so, the names are displayed at step 132. The instructor can also decide to display the participant input device identification information at step 134 and if so, it is displayed at step 136. The instructor can decide to navigate to another question at step 140 and the next question is selected at step 142 and displayed at step 128. If the instructor wishes to display an answer screen at step 144, a grid can be displayed at step 146. The grid can contain the participant's name, participant's input device identification information, or both, and the answers from the participants for each question. The responses of the participant can be compared to correct responses and displayed for the class at step 148. Incorrect responses can be displayed in step 150 and points or scores can be displayed at step 152.

In one embodiment, the response screen is divided into two major areas. The first area is the control bar (marked “A”), which is located at the top-left of the screen and may or may not extend across the entire width of the screen. It provides the instructor with easy access to key controls including a means of exiting the screen (left button) and a means of temporarily preventing the software from accepting responses from participants (right button). The second area of the screen can consist of a number of sections that allow each participant to track his or her progress in responding to questions.

Each of these areas has a participant's input device associated with it. The sections can be organized into one or more columns based on the associated participant input device. Within each column, participant input device identification information increase as one moves downward, but not all participant input devices need be present. Some areas may be associated with input devices that are not currently in use. In one embodiment, new areas can be automatically added as information from input devices is received. For example, begin with the response screen having five response sections associated with five participant input devices. When data is received from a sixth input device, a sixth response section can be automatically added to the response screen and associated with the sixth input device.

The control bar at the top of the screen will contract to occupy only a portion of the width of the screen if doing so allows all of the response sections to be displayed using fewer columns than would otherwise be required. In one embodiment, contiguous sections within a column have alternating background colors. This is designed to make it easier for a participant to visually locate the appropriate section. Gray and light blue are used as the two alternating background colors with the blue areas appearing raised and the gray areas appearing depressed relative to one another. The entire screen can be darkened when the instructor requests that the invention stop accepting responses from participants. This is advantageous in a timed-test format.

When a participant has finished answering all questions, in one embodiment, the participant input device identification information 40 turns green to indicate that the participant is finished.

If the current question does not have an associated valid response, then the question indicator can be white with a black number on it. If the current question has a valid response, then the question indicator can be green with a white number on it. The colors used for the question marker and its number in the two situations can be sufficiently distinct in intensity that even a colorblind participant would be able to tell them apart.

If the participant is on a previously answered question and changes his or her answer, then the question indicator can momentarily change to yellow with a black number to indicate such change.

When the response screen is first displayed, all of the sections can be set to start on question one. Participants can use the left and right arrow keys on their input devices to move back and forward one question respectively. This can be done at any time as long as the response screen is visible and the instructor has not prevented the invention from accepting responses.

When the participant provides a valid answer (though not necessarily the correct one) to the current question for the first time, the corresponding question rectangle can turn green and the question marker can automatically progress to the next question if that next question has not already been answered. If the participant provides an invalid response, the invention can ignore the participant input. If either the current or the next question have already been answered, then the question marker can be set not to automatically progress to the next question.

Participants can use the up and down arrow keys to move forward or back, respectively, through the questions more quickly. Pressing the up arrow on the remote can cause the question indicator to jump forward under one of the following three situations: a maximum limit of ten questions has been reached; a transition from an answered question to an unanswered question or vice versa is encountered; or the final question is reached. Pressing the down arrow on the remote can cause the question indicator to jump backward until one of the following three situations is encountered: a maximum limit of ten questions has been reached; a transition from an answered question to an unanswered question or vice versa is encountered; or the first question is reached. By using all four of the arrow keys on the remote, participants may quickly navigate to a particular question number or easily locate skipped questions that still need to be answered.

While a preferred embodiment of the invention has been described using specific terms, such description is for illustrative purposes only, and it is to be understood that changes and variations may be made without departing from the spirit or scope of the following claims.