Clickers in the Classroom- An Active Learning Approach

Clickers, also known as classroom response systems or student response systems, comprise hardware and software that aid in learning activities. Classroom Clickers, a relatively new technology, offer a great approach to facilitate active learning in the classroom.

Facilitates Data-Driven Instruction

With the help of student response systems, the instructors can identify the level of understanding of the material being presented. After students respond to a question by using the response pads, the teacher can immediately see the way students answered. The instructor would also be able to assess whether they have understood the material being taught.

Therefore, the instructor can decide if remediation is required or not. With the help of student response systems, teachers can facilitate a versatile number of assessments. From summative evaluation to formative assessment, several types of evaluations can be conducted with the help of these tools.

Makes Learning Fun

Resembling a remote control in various ways, today’s generation knows how to operate this gadget. Furthermore, the immediate feedback this system provides makes learning useful for students of any age. Incorporating clickers in the classroom can help you to fine-tune the interest levels of the students. Any mundane topic can be made exciting and interactive with the help of clickers.    

Clickers Result In Total Participation without Embarrassing Anyone

Shy students now can, with the help of the clickers, participate in the classroom teaching process. As an instructor, you would be able to collect their responses. With the clicker technology, every student can provide answers without fear of embarrassment. Moreover, this form of technology also encourages the participation of the whole class rather than allowing one or two to dominate discussions.

Setting Up Your Class with the Clickers Technology

The first thing you must do is to make your classroom computer compliant with it. Standard Windows computer with Office 2013 or newer will do. Then you download and install the interactive software that handles the clicker input. During the class, once you ask the questions, the selections from the student clickers is recorded directly into the software. When the poll is closed, results are shown instantly.

Results can be shown anonymously as an aggregate, or evaluated on a per-student basis, if test scores need to be collected.

Formative and Summative Assessment with Clickers

The audience response keypads facilitate a wide variety of summative and formative assessment options. The questions can be presented anywhere throughout the lecture, or in the form of a quiz at the end.

Polls Can Test the Understanding Levels of the Students

Once you have established recall, you instruct students to exhibit conceptual understanding. For instance, you can ask participants to give examples of the core topics. This would help you in testing the level of knowledge of the students.

Here is the list of some ideas with the help of which you can design clicker questions.

  • Make students express that they have the ability to assess relationships between various academic concepts
  • Design questions which would help the students in establishing connections between several core concepts
  • Gauge the difficulty levels of the assignments by asking each student to complete the task in the given time period
  • You can poll students about the amount of progress they have made towards assignments

Helps You to Facilitate Flexible Teaching Methods

You may find learners have an excellent understanding level on a specific subject. On the contrary, you may find out that the students do not have a good grasp of the concept being discussed. Clickers provide you with essential insights with the help of which you can adjust your teaching methods. You can opt to ask some multiple-choice questions on a specific subject.

If the answers are not correct, you have to revise the chapter again. On the other hand, if most students get it right, you move to a separate section. This shows that clickers would help you to address the needs of the students lagging. A highlighting aspect of clickers lies in the fact that you can customize the teaching methods based on each student. However, you have to include insightful questions that can spark the interest of the students.

Use of Clickers in Active Learning

Response systems are not limited to testing the participants. These response systems are also effectively used to spark debates and arguments in the class, increase the level of active learning, improve the communication skills of the students, and discuss the collected results. Even the introvert and shy students would participate in making the class interactive.

Implementing the student clicker response system is very cost-effective and straightforward – anyone with basic computer skills can do it and operate it.