Research has shown that clickers (which can be used to for quick polling or question-and-answer sessions) are an effective way to enhance student learning in a wide variety of disciplines. For instance, this study done at the University of Alberta, Edmond showed that the majority of students strongly indicated that the use of clickers enhanced their learning experience (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/bmb.20264/pdf).
Uses for clickers at UW Bothell and elsewhere have ranged from engaging students in larger classes to opening up discussions on controversial topics to checking for comprehension in classes. If you’re interested in seeing more research and articles on clickers, The Vanderbilt Center for Teaching maintains an extensive bibliography (see http://cft.vanderbilt.edu/docs/classroom-response-system-clickers-bibliography/).
At Bothell, we use the Turning Point system from Turning Technologies as our clicker system. The clickers can be used in any room with an epodium and can be done with existing or new PowerPoint presentations or other applications as well. There are a couple of options if you’re interested in using clickers for your courses.
- If you want to try out the clickers and/ or plan on using them only a couple times during the quarter, the IT Helpdesk has 4 total sets available for checkout, each with 48 clickers and 1 receiver. These sets are reservable on a first come, first served basis by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org or 425-352-3456. Three sets circulate for 2 business days and 1 set can circulate for 7 days. If you check out a set, you will only be able to do anonymous polling.
- If you would like to use the clickers on a more regular basis, you can have your students buy clickers by requesting that the UW Bookstore order them for your class similar to a textbook order. The course instructor can check out just the receiver from the IT helpdesk for the duration of the quarter. If you have your students buy clickers, you will be able to use the clickers for quizzes since each clicker will be associated with a student. You will still be able to do anonymous polling as well. Students pay about $48 for the clicker.
You can find more information about using clickers at http://www.uwb.edu/learningtech/clickers including some best practices for using clickers.