Chris Bruce Leadership Summit Introduction

Category : Uncategorized · (2) Comments · by February 21, 2015

Chris Bruce                                                                                                                Leadership Summit Intro
High School Science Teacher in Illinois – 8 years
Born and raised in Ketchikan, Kayhi graduate, MIT engineeering graduate, US Navy submarine officer, Navy satellite engineer

I teach at James B. Conant High School: 2400 students/200 staff, Chicago suburb, middle class population, 1:1 iPads for all 13,000 students in the district – Any questions about how to do this well, I would be happy to talk to you!


In late 2011, our technology coordinator asked us if we had any preference for devices for our upcoming 1:1 mobile device program we said we wanted Microsoft Windows devices. He said “tough – you are getting iPads, but it is okay because there is something called HTML5 that someone will soon make all of the tools you need!” Little did we know, that “someone” he meant was us.

I became an Apple iOS developer + Google Play developer + web developer, and have been trying to figure out the best ways to use the devices with my students, without waiting for someone else to build it!

Making learning personal, 2 main projects:

  1. Simulations in the hands of every student
  2. Shortening the time required for feedback, with individualized homework based on each student’s weak areas


  1. On your phone/iPad, -> “Go to the sims!” -> Accelerometer -> drop your device!
  • With iPads, no more groups of 4 where 1 person does, 1 person watches, and 2 people do nothing!


  1. My class vision – Wouldn’t it be great if:
  • Each student could take a completely randomized quiz on a variety of learning objectives, and…
  • The quiz were graded instantly, and…
  • Each student knew immediately when they got the question wrong and what the right answer is, and…
  • When they are done with the quiz, they are linked to a series of activities that are tailored to address their own weak areas, and then…
  • They can fix what they don’t understand within 1 class period, instead of waiting a few weeks to learn it right before the test and forget it immediately afterward?


This exists, and we have been using it for the past two years. Questionbank system. The ideas here aren’t new, but the system requires a few things to work:


  1. A stable wifi connection for EVERY device
  2. A stable internet connection
  3. Hundreds of questions tagged by objective, with different randomized versions of each question
  4. A server running a database of questions, creating quizzes for students, and tabulating results and reports as appropriate.
  5. A great set of “reinforcement” activities
  6. Most Importantly: A teacher that is willing to run around like crazy helping students on each of their individual assignments!


If any one of these are missing, the system doesn’t work. Our biggest challenge has been with wifi. Initially our district was concerned with the size of the broadband pipe to our school, but we are still fighting the wifi issue 3 years later. Here’s an exercise:

  • How many people in this room? How many devices in this room?
  • 28 student ipads + 2 teacher ipad + 29 cell phones, 2 teacher laptops, 50 student devices walking down the hall… you get the picture.

It is so important that we have the technology infrastructure to support innovation in the classroom. From a teacher’s perspective, it is so exciting to see students engage with material in new ways. Thank you

(2) comments

Willem van Ketel
8 years ago · Reply


I’m a colleague from the Netherlands. I like your html5 sims, but I would love to learn more about your questionbank system. Do you have a link to a description?


    Chris Bruce
    8 years ago · Reply


    Thanks for the comment. Based on the feedback from teachers at the ASTE Conference, we decided to go ahead and rebuild the system from scratch for the general public. The new system is called QuizEvolved, and is available for free at The following is a draft of a blog post written for the ASTE website:

    Online Practice, Group Quizzes, Individualized Homework –

    1. What if it were possible for students to practice with a whole year’s worth of questions on their mobile device at any time, day or night? – Without the constraints of a traditional school day, students could go at their own pace, learning way ahead of schedule.

    2. What if it were possible for students to sit around a table together, each working on different versions of the same questions? – Students could have conversations about how to solve problems, rather than asking each other “what did you get?”

    3. What if instead of receiving a score at the end of a quiz, students receive a customized set of homework designed to address their weak areas and build upon their strengths? – Instruction would be completely individualized!

    A few years ago our school district had the vision to start an iPad 1:1 program, and the foresight to trust teachers to figure out how to best use them in the classroom. We teachers took our ideas and ran with them, at first building a system just for our own students, then rebuilding everything from scratch and releasing a new system to the world for free at

    With QuizEvolved, the three “What If?” statements became real:

    “What If?” #1 became “Practice Quizzes”, where students practice each learning objective at their own pace on their own time. Practice quizzes have been great for students with test anxiety because they can practice as much as they want with the eventual goal of mastering all of the material.

    “What If? #2 became “Mastery Quizzes”, in-class quizzes where a teacher selects a specific set of questions, but each student receives a different version of each question. Students are encouraged to collaborate and can try each question multiple times until they get it right.

    “What If?” #3 became “Reinforcement Quizzes”, in-class quizzes where a teacher tells the system to pick 3, 4, or 5 questions at random from each learning objective. Each student receives a different set of questions. At the end of the quiz each student receives “reinforcements” customized to their strengths and weaknesses. Students immediately start work on their reinforcements, and most students are able to remediate their weak areas before the bell rings. Each student now spends time working on their weak areas instead of wasting time repeating things they already know.

    QuizEvolved has completely changed our classrooms, and we hope you like it as much as we do. Please take a look at and send me an email if you have any questions!

    -Chris Bruce

    Physics Teacher, NBCT
    QuizEvolved Lead Developer


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