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Using Clickers to Enhance Student Learning

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.

  1. 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 it@uwb.edu 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.
  2. 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.

16 Suggestions for Teaching with Classroom Response Systems

1. Consider the following questions when drafting clicker questions:

* What student learning goals do I have for the question?

* What do I hope to learn about my students by asking this question?

* What will my students learn about each other when they see the results of this question?

* How might this question be used to engage students with course content in small-group or classwide

discussions or by creating a time for telling?

* What distribution of responses do I expect from my students?

* What might I do if the actual distribution turns out very differently?

2. Look for answer choices for potential clicker questions in student responses to open-ended questions, ones asked on assignments in previous courses, on homework questions, or during class. This can lead to answer choices that better match common student misconceptions and perspectives.


Using Classroom Clickers To Engage Every Student

Using Classroom Clickers To Engage Every Student
Linda Briggs

In this interview, a writer for the Campus Technology magazine interviews professor Edna Ross about how she uses clickers and what benefits they bring to her classroom. Edna points out, “With clickers, you’re giving every student a voice, even the introverts.” See the link below for the full interview!

Link: http://www.campustechnology.com/articles/67903/

7 Things You Should Know About Clickers

Interaction and engagement are often limited by class size and human dynamics (a few students may dominate the conversation while most avoid interaction). Interaction and engagement, both important learning principles, can be facilitated with clickers. Clickers can also facilitate discipline-specific discussions, small work-group cooperation, and student-student interactions. Clickers—plus well-designed questions—provide an easy-to-implement mechanism for enhancing interaction. Clicker technology enables more effective, more efficient, and more engaging education.

Link: http://www.educause.edu/node/156805