Friday, February 10, 2012

Student Engagement Using Audience Response Systems (Clickers)

Using clickers in the classroom can be a great way for promoting student engagement and active learning.  One thing to keep in mind is that today's students have grown up in a world of "gaming".  Clickers offer a kind of "game approach" to learning.

When using clickers for student engagement, consider some of the following tips:
  1. Keep the number of questions short.
  2. Keep the number of answers in your multiple choice questions to 5 or less.
  3.  Allow time for questions to ruminate.  It's a great opportunity for discussion and peer-to-peer learning before displaying the answers.
  4. Position questions at periodic intervals during your class.
  5. Don't overuse or use exclusively for attendance and quizzes.  Students tend to dread the clickers if they are used all the time and if they are only used for quizzes/attendance.  It's important to remember that it's just one tool in your toolbox.

If you're looking for a fun way to active engage students in your class, clickers may just be your answer.

Contact Dave Houle at dhoule@northshore.edu if you are interested in learning more about clickers and how they can be used as a learning tool in your classroom.
Below are a few clicker resources that relate to student engagement and active learning.

  1. Classroom Reconsidered: Understanding and Engaging Students with Clickers
  2. Clicker and Peer Instruction
  3. Using Clickers to Facilitate Peer Review in a Writing Seminar
  4. Clicker Use in the Classroom 
What experiences do you have using Clickers in the classroom?  How do you perceive this could be useful in your classroom?  What challenges, concerns, or questions do you have about using clickers in the classroom?