Mouse Mischief


Microsoft is offering a no-cost alternative to the student response systems (SRS or "clickers") that are used in some K-20 classrooms. They call it Mouse Mischief and the name seems to indicate that they are targetting younger students.

Mouse Mischief integrates into Microsoft PowerPoint 2010 and 2007, and allows teachers to create interactive presentations that can engage student in the room. Approximately 5–25 students, each with his or her own mouse, can answer multiple choice and yes/no questions and draw on a shared screen.

Nothing unusual there. Actually, that's somewhat limited, but you can download Mouse Mischief free of charge.

Students can use any computer mice to interact, so there are no devices to buy. It allows for whole-class or individual student responses.

After Mouse Mischief is installed a new toolbar appears as part of the PowerPoint ribbon when a new or old PowerPoint presentation is opened. So, the free add-on promotes the use of Office, but since its already in most classrooms, that isn't a real negative. The toolbar lets teachers add interactive elements, such as multiple-choice question slides, with a single click.

During class, the students select their answers and the teacher can display the correct answer. It can also calculate the percentage of students who answered the question correctly.

Using SRS, if a teacher notes that only 25% of the class have the correct answer, she can redirect the lesson.

In the same way that online discussions often allow the shy student to open up, the anonymous nature of SRS responses can also allow a student who doesn't often participate to do so in a low-risk situation.

Of course, I am almost more interested in Microsoft offering this free product as I am in the product itself. he EdTech world recognizes that Microsoft has to address the competition that Office gets from free products like Google Apps and offer incentives for you and schools to continue buying updates and new software.

So far, Microsoft reports downloads of the beta Mouse Mischief software are mostly from the U.S., but also many from around the world. Two hundred schools participated in Mouse Mischief’s beta research phase before the launch.

For information and to download


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