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3 GGC students finalists for STEM awards

LAWRENCEVILLE — Three Georgia Gwinnett College students have been honored for developing a software application that’s an alternative to a dedicated device in classrooms.

Robert Curtis, Derek Donaldson and Kyle Dornblaser created an app called “The Clicker” which gives teachers and professors a chance to query students at a moment’s notice. The app was developed at no cost, and is available on smartphones, laptops and tablets and is being piloted in classrooms across campus.

For their efforts, the students were named finalists in this year’s Georgia STEM Education Awards in the Classroom Technology category. The awards were presented last week in Savannah, and were created to honor individuals and organizations for efforts and achievements in supporting and promoting science, technology, engineering and math education in Georgia. The event is presented by the Technology Association of Georgia.

“It is quite an honor for them to have made the finals,” Evelyn Brannock, assistant professor of Information Technology in the School of Science and Technology, said in a press release. “Georgia Gwinnett College is a relatively new college and part of our vision is that we embrace 21st century technology to help students learn. This certainly bolsters that mission statement.”

The companion technology is expected to measure emotional responses concurrent with manual responses through the clicker. It’s designed to allow the instructor to better capture the mood of the class as the students interact with the teacher.

“Ideally, we’d like to be able to tell how sure someone is of his or her answer,” said Robert Lutz, assistant professor of Information Technology in the School of Science and Technology, in a press release. “The technology isn’t there for this yet, but, as (brain-computer interfaces) enter the consumer marketplace for fitness and gaming applications, we hope to harness that same sensing technology in the classroom. Through integration with our no-cost, ‘bring your own device’ clicker software, BCIs could provide instructors with deeper and more valuable insights into students’ frustration and excitement levels in the classroom.”