Posted by: paralleldivergence | March 23, 2011

Positive Live Feedback about SRN

As Student Response Network starts to get use in New South Wales High Schools through the Digital Education Revolution program, we shouldn’t forget there are many K-6 schools that are also using it extensively in Australia. While browsing Yammer, I noticed some great feedback about how SRN was being used in grades 3/4 in a school. So I replied. A few minutes later and more people joined in sharing their experiences with using SRN with their students.

Posted by: paralleldivergence | January 8, 2010

SRN Client for iPod Touch/iPhone

So many 1:1 schools around the world have found Student Response Network to be a fabulous addition to their wireless netbooks and notebooks, but there have also been many calls from schools that invested in the more affordable Apple iPod Touch as an interactive connected device for their students to use.

We’re happy to announce development has been finalized and that a new iPod Touch and iPhone app is available from Apple’s AppStore. Student Response Network will now run with these excellent handheld devices, working in conjunction with the teacher’s Windows-based SRN Server module.  Here’s a sneak peek at the iPod Touch Client for SRN in action.

The price? Absolutely FREE!

Posted by: paralleldivergence | November 29, 2009

Playing QuizBoxes with SRN Clients as Buzzers

Stu’s QuizBoxes is another of my programs, a completely free educational activity that puts a quiz game show in your classroom. But did you know that your Student Response Network Clients can be used as buzzers for QuizBoxes?

By connecting your SRN Clients to the SRN Server (teacher’s) computer and having QuizBoxes also on the teacher’s computer, the two programs can interact to provide a brilliantly engaging educational activity for the whole class.

The QuizBoxes game board

Above is a screen shot of the QuizBoxes game board, a set of thirty questions broken into six categories, with questions sorted into increasing difficulty. It’s a great game that you can build and present to your students. Your students can even build the quizzes themselves!

When a student selects a category and a point value, the teacher clicks it and the question behind that QuizBox appears:

A QuizBoxes Question Screen

At this point, in a school where Student Response Network is not available, some other form of buzzer is needed – a percussion instrument, a (physical) raise of hands, a call out of your (or your team’s) name etc.

But with Student Response Network, all that needs to be done at the start of the QuizBoxes game (after your SRN clients have connected) is to click on the “Enable Buzzer” checkbox and for any of the students to click on their purple “Raise Hand” button in the SRN Client.

left: SRN Server - right: SRN Client

The first student to “Raise their Hand” will cause a buzzer window to appear over the top of the QuizBoxes question and the teacher can then acknowledge that student to get them to answer.  In order to stop students from buzzing-in too early, the buzzer window intentionally COVERS the question, so if students are racing to buzz-in, they will not be able to answer because they will not have seen the question. In QuizBoxes, a failure to answer, or an incorrect answer means the point value of the selected question gets DEDUCTED from the team or person that buzzed-in.

The SRN "buzzer" covering the question

If you’ve got Student Response Network, you really should be playing QuizBoxes with your class. If you’ve got QuizBoxes, it’s so much better with Student Response Network!

Posted by: paralleldivergence | November 29, 2009

SRN v2.1 – What’s New?

November 28. 2009: Student Response Network version 2.1 is released.  Hot on the heels of v2.0 comes a few extra features, some minor bug-fixes and improvements. So what are they all?

1. FreeText Responses

SRN FreeText Options

First came “Raise Hand”, “Yes/No” and “Multiple Choice” responses with SRN – now comes the ability for students to responds with free text – anything up to 80 characters in fact. Words, phrases, sentences – even numerical responses. The students just type into their FreeText box and press Enter and instantly, the SRN Server receives it.  The teacher has full control over responses received – do you want them to be instantly displayed? Do you want them to be anonymous? Can students respond more than once? Just tick the desired boxes and you’re on your way.  And of course, in the end, every FreeText activity is recorded for the teacher with all responses identified in the saved report. Check this article to see SRN’s FreeText in action.

2. The Magnifying Glass Window

SRN Magnifying Glass

Even though SRN Server (the teacher’s module) is usually projected onto a large screen or interactive whiteboard for students to see, some parts of the SRN screen like the Client List Scoreboard may be too small for students at the back to read. Now with a simple click of the magnifying glass, you get a Magnifying Glass Window that you can move anywhere around the screen to enlarge that section of the screen, making it simple for everyone to read. Just click the magnifying glass icon to turn it on or off whenever you like.

3. Disconnect a Student

Sometimes, it would be useful to be able to easily disconnect a student (client) connection directly from the server. Well now, it couldn’t be simpler. Just right-click on the name of the student you want disconnected and click on the option that says “Disconnect this Client” from the pop-up menu.  So why would you want to do this?

1. A student that has had to leave the room and is not responding
2. A student whose computer has crashed or otherwise lost network access
3. A student who is responding inappropriately or is being disruptive

4. Allow/Disallow New Connections Option

Allow/Disallow New Connections

The new “Allow New Connections” check box in the SRN Server Control section is on to start with, but turns itself off automatically once you start your first response session (i.e. after everyone has connected).  After it turns itself off, no new clients can connect as the server will automatically reject them.  This is handy because it stops other students that might have access to a client from joining in after a session has started, and it also stops disruptive students that have been disconnected from reconnecting to the SRN Server. This option can be over-ridden at any time. If someone has disconnected and needs to legitimately reconnect after a response session has started can do so when the teacher re-allows new connections by manually using the check box.

5. SRN Server – Now up to 50 Clients!

The previous limit of 40 clients has been increased by 25%, now making Student Response Network useful for slightly larger classes.

6. Better Responses Spreadsheet Report

The Excel spreadsheet produced at the end of an SRN session is now formatted much more concisely and is easier to read.

SRN Responses Report

With all these great new features in Student Response Network don’t you think Virtual Clickers are a great idea for your classroom?

Posted by: paralleldivergence | November 29, 2009

The Power of SRN’s FreeText

With the release of version 2.0 of  Student Response Network comes the much-requested arrival of Free-text responses! Not only is SRN the easiest to use physical or Virtual clicker solution available, but now it accepts another response type from students – words, phrases, sentences and numbers – SRN FreeText!

Enabling FreeText...

A few days ago, I had the pleasure of being invited to present Student Response Network to a group of about 50 school ICT coordinators covering schools from K through 12. This was the first group anywhere to see the newest version in action and immediately, it was evident that they were forming ideas for how the software could be used in their classrooms.

When it came to demonstrating SRN’s new FreeText feature, I decided to open it up to the floor.  I asked them the question:

What activity do you think SRN FreeText could be used for in the classroom?”

I allowed them each a single response only. All responses were anonymous and the responses were hidden until I chose to reveal them to the group.  After close to 20 responses had come in, I decided to review what was submitted with the group. A simple click on the “Show Responses” option revealed the following:

SRN FreeText Responses

I was pleased by the range of responses that had come in. It was clear that SRN FreeText could be used to gather all kinds of responses for a variety of purposes. We discussed some of the ideas displayed and then I opened it up again, by clicking “Multi Response” on SRN Server, each person was now able to add more ideas using what they see now as a stimulus.  The answers kept coming in and at the end, the teachers could really see the value of this tool, and they realised exactly how engaging the activity is for participants.

What do you think you could use SRN’s FreeText response option for?

Posted by: paralleldivergence | November 28, 2009

Updated Mac OSX SRN Client

Now that I ordered a copy of RealBasic 2009 Professional for OSX, I’ve been able to do some extra development to Norman Palardy’s original port of my Windows client.  Since Norman’s release, there were some improvements to the Windows version of SRN Client, and these have now been replicated in the updated OSX SRN Client.  Changes include the moving of the Connection details to the bottom and the introduction of FreeText response:SRN Client for OSX

Then when you have successfully connected to the SRN Server, the Connection details disappear leaving a nice, small SRN Client with just those buttons you need to respond with:
SRN Client for OSX when connected...To redisplay the Connection details (and to Disconnect manually), you click the handle at the bottom.  The updated SRN Client for Mac OSX is available right now for free from the Downloads page.
Posted by: paralleldivergence | October 26, 2009

Want to run SRN Server from your Windows Server?

Many schools around the world have Windows Server 2000, 2003 or 2008 as their main file server. The great thing is, if you have a Campus-Wide licence of Student Response Network, it makes a lot of sense to run both the SRN Server module and the SRN Client from shares on that server, meaning no local installations are required at all! This article is aimed at school/campus Network Administrators, providing clear instructions on how to run SRN properly from shares on a Windows server.

Step 1: Locate your SRN Server folder on a share accessible to staff. It is not necessary for teachers or presenters that will use SRN Server to have write/modify access to the share, but it should be on a share that Students generally do not have access to. Usually a StaffShare of some kind will do.  The path can either be accessible via UNC Path or Mapped Drive Letter to run SRN Server. It’s recommended that you create a folder called StudentResponseNetwork in your share, then place the SRNServer folder inside that.

Step 2: Locate your SRN Client folder on a Read Only share, accessible by both students and staff – usually an Apps share of some kind. The path can either be accessible via UNC Path or Mapped Drive Letter to run SRN Server.

Step 3: Create shortcuts to SRNServer.exe for staff logons and to SRNclient.exe for student logons. However you deliver shortcuts to your users, use that method to deliver shortcuts to these applications as appropriate.

Step 4: Adjust Group Policy settings to define Windows Firewall exceptions to allow SRN Server to run on any computer on the school network. This step should only be run by the school’s server administrator!

(a) Run Group Policy Management Console
(b) Right-click on the domain or the appropriate user Organizational Unit and create a New Policy – name the policy “Client Firewall” or similar.
(c) Right-click on that new policy you created and choose Edit.
(d) Navigate to Computer Configuration…Administrative Templates…Network…Network Connections…Windows Firewall…Domain Profile.  The following screen will appear:


(e) Double-click “Windows Firewall: Define program exceptions
(f) Click Enabled at the top, then click Show, then click Add.
(g) In the box that appears, type in (or copy this line and paste it):


Replace <sname> with your server’s name and <shname> with the share where you put SRN.

(h) Click OK twice to return to the screen shown above.
(i) Double-click “Windows Firewall: Define port exceptions
(j) Click Enabled at the top, then click Show, then click Add.
(k) In the box that appears, type in (or copy this line and paste it):


Replace xx.xx.xx with the first three octets of the server’s IP address.

(l) Click OK twice to return to the screen shown above.
(m) Click the X at the top right to close Group Policy Management Console

Finally, any workstation that is to run SRN Server must be rebooted once in order to receive the new Computer Client Firewall Policy.  From there, SRN Server should work fin from ANY PC logged onto the server as a staff member.

Posted by: paralleldivergence | May 29, 2009

SRN and Laptops4Learning


May 2009: The New South Wales Department of Education and Training begins trials in three schools of its new wireless netbook 1:1 program named Laptops4Learning.  This will be the largest netbook rollout into a single school system the world. Funded by the Australian Federal government’s Digital Education Revolution initiative, more than 260,000 Netbooks (or “Compact Learning Devices”) will be placed in the hands of every Year 9, 10, 11 and 12 student and every high school teacher over the next three years.

The trials are currently being conducted with year 9 in three high schoolsCherrybrook, Arthur Philip and Denison College – Bathurst Campus, and in another world’s-first, these Lenovo netbooks are being tested with Windows 7 RC – the pre-release version of Microsoft’s newest operating system.

Furthermore, installed on these netbooks alongside Microsoft’s flagship Office 2007 and Adobe software such as Photoshop and Premier Elements and Dreamweaver Flash is Student Response Network!  Every netbook rolled out to students will include the SRN Client and every netbook supplied to teachers will include both the SRN Client and the fully-registered SRN Server software.  Here’s the first screenshot of the L4L student netbook running Student Response Network on Windows 7 RC:


Soon, every public high school student in New South Wales will be given a new way to contribute in the classroom.

Posted by: paralleldivergence | May 2, 2009

Got a 1:1 Laptop Program at Your School?

Many individual schools and school districts are looking to implement 1:1 Laptop programs for their students. By providing students with access to their own untethered (wireless) notebook, the whole world can be at their fingertips. But that brilliant learning device is not only great for finding information, it’s also great for two-way communication.

Student Response Network is the perfect inclusion for every school’s 1:1 laptop program. Why spend thousands on individual hand-held clickers when you’ve already spent many thousands more on the laptops?  Especially when just by adding Student Response Network you can turn your existing laptops into very powerful clickers that can do so much more!

  • Describe a concept or topic to the class
  • Students can then independently use the web to research the concept or topic
  • They can run through a scavenger hunt or webquest to help them understand it
  • They can produce a multimedia presentation to show their understanding of the topic or concept
  • You can quiz them on their understanding using Student Response Network
  • You can tailor further tuition as required to reinforce that topic or concept before moving on

…and all of it can be done with that one learning device in front of each student.

If your school has a 1:1 Laptop Program, then congratulations to you for taking the risk to provide your students with the teaching and learning toolbox of the 21st Century. But if you haven’t added Student Response Network to that toolbox, then you are missing a vital component needed to help build the best education for each of your students.

Student Response Network. Take it for a test drive today. Download the free trial.

Posted by: paralleldivergence | April 26, 2009

When should you use Clickers?

Clickers can be used to assess student learning at different stages in the learning process. By constructing appropriate Clicker questions, a wealth of information can be gathered that can help to better guide the learning process for each group of students. Some examples are summarized below.

Pre-Assessments: At the beginning of a school term or before a new topic

  • What do the students already know about the topic?
  • What are the students’ misconceptions?

Mid-Topic Assessments: In the middle of a topic or before another concept

  • Do they understand this principle?
  • Can they connect this principle/idea to the previous one?
  • Can they apply this concept?
  • How is their thinking changing?

Post-Assessments: At the end of a school term, topic, or class session

  • What is their overall conceptual framework?
  • Can they synthesize the concepts to solve problems?
  • How had their understanding changed?

These stages and their objectives focus on varying levels of student understanding. For instance, pre-assessment may emphasize knowledge of general information, while mid-topic assessment may stress comprehension of implications or application of a technique.

Student Response Network is ideal for use in a classroom setting to provide the teacher with excellent baseline information as well as progress updates and post-evalution. This helps the teacher to customize the teaching and learning process as appropriate for each separate group of students learning a topic. Student Response Network makes student engagement and participation a key driver of the learning process.

This information is adapted from materials prepared by the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

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