With classroom response systems (or CRSs, also known as Student Response Systems, or, informally, “clickers”) in use in higher education for some 20 years, there is now both ample research and a wealth of examples and ideas to draw on for faculty who are contemplating their use, or exploring new ways to integrate them in their teaching.
The research demonstrates that, integrated purposefully in courses, the use of clickers aligns with what neuroscience tells us about the formation of memory and the development of learning. Most research on the benefits of using clickers in the classroom has shown that students become engaged and enjoy using them. In addition, they elicit contributions from otherwise reticent students and enhance collaboration, even in large lecture courses; foster more honest responses to discussion prompts; increase students’ engagement and satisfaction with the classroom environment; and provide an instantaneous method of formative assessment.
Here at Wentworth, we use a product called iClicker, an easy plug-and-play system that requires no installation. We believe that clickers are a great tool to use with your students in class; as they help facilitate active, engaged teaching and learning.
- Maintain students’ attention during a lecture. Studies show that most people’s attention lapses after 10 to 18 minutes of passive listening. Inserting a few polling questions every so often during a lecture can help maintain students’ attention.
- Promote active student engagement during a lecture. Posing well-chosen questions to students during lecture and expecting answers from each student can cause students to reflect on and assimilate course content during class.
- Promote discussion and collaboration among students during class with group exercises that require students to discuss and come to a consensus.
- Encourage participation from each and every student in a class. Asking a question verbally and calling on the first student to raise his or her hand results in one student participating. A polling activity can involve not one, but all of the students in the class.
- Create a safe space for shy and unsure students to participate in class. A polling question gives students a chance to respond to a teacher’s question silently and privately, enabling student who might not typically speak up in class to express their thoughts and opinions. A polling question also enables students to respond anonymously to sensitive ethical, legal, and moral questions.
- Check for student understanding during class. By asking polling questions, teachers can determine if students understand important points or distinctions raised in class. They need not wait until homework is turned in or exams are completed to do so. Instead they can receive feedback on a lecture during that same lecture.
- Teach in a way that adapts to the immediate learning needs of his or her students. If a histogram of student answers shows that a significant number of students chose wrong answers to a question, then the teacher can revisit or clarify the points he or she just made in class. If a histogram shows that most students chose the correct answers to a question, then the teacher can move on to another topic.
- Take attendance and to rapidly grade in-class quizzes, provided that each transmitter is assigned to a unique student over the length of a course. Note that different CRS systems provide different levels of support for anonymous and non-anonymous usage.
- Add a little drama to class. There is often a sense of expectation as wait for the histogram to appear showing how their classmates answered a given question.
- Clickers provide a mechanism for students to participate anonymously.
- Clickers integrate a "game approach" that may engage students more than traditional class discussion.
How do I use iClickers?
- iClicker provides user-friendly technology that enables instructors and students to interact dynamically in minutes.
- Instructors ask questions through any presentation application
- Students answer questions using their iClicker
- Instructor displays results in real-time and record
How do I get clickers for my class?
- To obtain a set of iClickers for your class, contact LIT at email@example.com or stop by Beatty 318 and speak with an LIT team member.
You will be provided with the following:
- Instructor Kit
- Instructor Quick Start Guide
- Base receiver and USB cable
- A/C power supply for base flash drive
- Instructor remote (iClicker)
- Student iClickers (number of iClickers needed for your class)
How do I get trained on how to use iClicker?
- Before you begin using iClickers in your class, we recommend that you receive training on how to use and assemble the Instructor Kit. Please contact LIT at firstname.lastname@example.org or stop by Beatty 318 and speak with an LIT team member.
We encourage you to take a moment to watch how Gary Simundza has integrating clickers in his course design.
Please contact Learning Innovation & Technology for assistance using this product in your course. Email email@example.com, stop by Beatty 318, or call 617-989-5428.