Every student has been there - avoiding eye contact with the teacher in hopes of not being called on to answer a question in front of the entire class.
The situation leaves the students not actively engaged in the lesson and teachers not knowing if students are grasping the material.
But the Williamsport Area High School may have found a tool to help make the information click. Using response card keypads, or "clickers," the entire class is able to answer a question with no one knowing, except the teacher, who answered the question right or wrong.
Jessica Wells picks up her “clicker” to answer a question during a review in her algebra class at Williamsport Area High School.
Algebra teacher Derek Slaughter gives an example to help explain the answer to a review question.
Dustin Sander and Madison Ramano, both ninth-grade students in an algebra class at Williamsport Area High School, press their answers on their response card keypads,
also called clickers.
The program also allows teachers to see if the class understands concepts and lessons or if it needs more time to work on them.
"It's phenomenal. You can see data in real time," Derek Slaughter, who teaches Algebra 1, said of the program.
Although the math department has had the clickers for about four years, Patti Miller, math teacher, said more of the department's teachers are beginning to use the tool in their classes to better assess how students are picking up lessons.
Students said the clickers also help them gain confidence in their ability.
"We don't have to be embarrassed if we're wrong (while working with the clickers)," said Melaine Chapman, a senior.
The way the program works is a teacher will submit one or more questions onto the computer program with the correct answer - questions can be true or false, multiple choice or a numerical value.
With their clicker in hand, students then read and work out the math problems that are projected on interactive whiteboards and type in their answer on the keypad. Once students have answered, a graphic shows how the class answered without identifying each individual student.
Miller explained that after class, teachers can go back and see how each student did. The teacher then can help an individual student who may need extra help with a lesson.
"If we realize the same person is always getting it wrong, we can pull them aside," Slaughter said.
Michael Reed, principal, said the tool helps the pacing of classes because it can either speed up or
slow down how material is presented, depending on how well the class does on the questions.
Alex Harvey, senior, said the clickers work well with the students because they are very savvy and familiar with technology.
Slaughter added the more technology the school can incorporate in the classroom, the better.
The keypads don't only give students confidence in their answers but they allow each student to be a part of class, not just the ones who raise their hands.
For some students, it's an intriguing way to learn.
"As simple as it is, it is fun," said Bill Kennedy, senior. "You're sort of tricking people into participating."
"All of the kids are engaged. They're all answering the questions but they're not afraid of getting it wrong," Slaughter said.
Senior Katelyn Desant said the clickers help keep the interest of students during class.
All of the students asked said they would like to see the keypads in all of their classes, not just math.
That wish could be granted soon.
Greg Hayes, executive director of the district's education foundation, said the foundation's board will see a preview of the clickers in action and could fund more keypads for other subjects.
"Personally, I would like to see them in my other classes," Chapman said.