FITL staff conducted interviews with faculty from the Chemistry, Math, Computer Science and Physics departments about their use of clickers in the classroom.
Here are some suggestions they offered for instructors new to teaching with clickers
- Be creative with your multiple choice answers
- Design your questions based on what you want the question to achieve
- Have a backup plan in case the technology doesn’t work as expected
- Ask questions that touch on common misconceptions. This gets students’ attention and can illustrate to them why they’re getting certain problems wrong
- Use clickers to provide a change of pace in long classes
- For review sessions, make small modifications to prior true/false or multiple choice questions to test and reinforce students’ knowledge
- Provide multiple correct answers to spark discussion
- Set aside extra time for preparation, at least one hour. The extra work will pay off
- It's not something you can do haphazardly. Come to class having everything laid out so that you're delivering something to the students that is well thought out and organized
- Start by asking simple questions, then ramp up to the more difficult topics
- Build up a pool of clicker questions that you can draw from, and divide them by lecture, by topic, etc.
- As you refine your question creation process, it becomes less labor intensive
- Save all of your student response data. If a student comes in for office hours, look at how they responded on a particular section. Try and correlate their results on a particular exam with their results on a particular question during class to try and see where they lost track of the material, or if they never had the hang of it to begin with
In Spring 2011, the FITL Center conducted a survey of students about their clicker use that semester.
The results of the survey showed that using clickers significantly improves the classroom learning experience for students, and that a majority of students would like to continue using clickers in the future.
Using clickers in class helps students understand the subject matter better, according to about two-thirds of the students polled. Responses also indicated that students were more likely to
- Feel confident asking questions when others gave the same wrong answer
- Study topics they hadn’t done well on during a clicker session
- Complete assignments on time in preparation for clicker sessions
More than 80% of students who had been using clickers wanted to continue using them once a week or more.
More Professors Give Out Hand-Held Devices to Monitor Students and Engage Them
Jacques Steinberg, New York Times. November 15, 2010
In Search of Answers, Teachers Turn to Clickers
Dan Bobkoff, NPR’s All Things Considered. March 2, 2009
7 things you should know about...Clickers
EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative, 2005
Clickers in the Classroom: An Active Learning Approach
Margie Martyn, Mathematics and Computer Science Department, Baldwin-Wallace College, 2007
A Clicker Approach to Teaching Calculus
Martina Bode, Denise Drane, Yifat Ben-David Kolikant, Mary Schuller, 2009
Clicker Sets as Learning Objects
Gerald Bergtrom, Biological Sciences Department and Learning Technology Center, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 2006
Clickers in the Large Classroom: Current Research and Best-Practice Tips
Jane E. Caldwell, Department of Biology, West Virginia University, 2007