Clickers!

I have learned a lot this semester and have really enjoyed the variety of technology because I think some of it can actually utilize. Nothing is more frustrating than taking course, spending tons of money on it and then never using any of the information or being able to apply it after completing the course. For my internship/practicum I am hopeful to be transitioning a traditional didactic course into a hybrid course, with the majority of it being all online. This summer I will be completing the Quality Matters training and then start organizing the course which will not begin until Spring 2015.I know I will be able to utilize many of the different technologies that we have discussed this semester.  Until then , I am always trying to think of ways to improve my current didactic course which is Dental Anatomy and Histology. I had stated last fall that I have access to “clickers” but had never used them in my course. I really am empowered to try to incorporate them this fall into my course to add something new to the class.  I have participated in faculty in service meetings where we have used the clickers and have had fun using them.  But I have never had them be a part of my course.

Clickers are an interactive technology that enables instructors to pose questions to students and immediately collect and view the responses of the entire class (1.)No technology automatically enhances learning; rather it must be use thoughtfully and deliberately to advance the learning objectives of a particular course (1.) Clickers can be used to increase participation and prompt deeper thinking about a problem. It can help monitor the students understanding of course content in real time. They can provide students with instant feedback on their comprehension to help monitor their own understanding. And can also help spark discussion among students to compare, justify and if needed, modify their answers (1.)

A study was done with nursing students as the ability to actively engage all students in a large classroom became challenging and increasingly difficult. Clickers, or student response systems, were used and three themes emerged.: being able to respond anonymously, validating an answer while providing immediate feedback and providing an interactive and engaging environment. Although the clickers did not improve learning outcomes as measured by objective testing, perceptions shared by students indicated an increased degree of classroom engagement. (2) However in another study, a method of instruction that particularly benefits from clickers was peer learning. It was also concluded that clickers offer a powerful and flexible tool for teaching. They can be used with many styles of questions, and new variations on the technology allows formats other than multiple choice questions. Although much research remains to be done o elucidate the reasons why clickers are effective, they do seem to enhance students active learning, participation and enjoyment of the class (3.)

So there is evidence that clickers can enhance the classroom and that it is a great active learning activity. After reviewing some published documents there seems to be a mixture of outcomes. I think that even though the studies that I used were primarily based in large classrooms, that I could still effectively use clickers in the smaller classroom setting.  I think even if they just pose a positive and interactive environment but not improve objectives it would still be worth the time to use it. The classroom needs more interactive activities to keep the students engaged! It can be something that I try and will learn from my own trial and error! I will need to get trained on the technology and plan accordingly! That is what a innovative classroom does, right??

 

  1. “What are clickers and how can we effectively use them?”  Eberly Center for Teaching Excellence. Carnegie Mellon. www.cmu.edu/teaching/clickers Accessed 4/8/2014
  2. Patterson, Barbara., Judith Kilpatrick, Eric Woebkenberg.“Evidence for teaching practice: The impact of clickers in a large classroom environment.” Nurse Education Today. Vol. 30, Issue 7, October 2010.
  3. Caldwell, Jane. “ Clickers in the Large Classroom: Current Research and Bes- Practice Tips” CBE Life Sci Educ Vol.6. no 1. 9-20

 

4 thoughts on “Clickers!

  1. Clickers really are a great way to motivate students and encourage active participation in a class. Not only do they allow students to monitor their own knowledge, but most technologies allows the instructor to see what questions the students are missing. They could be helpful for an instructor to instantly see what topics the students are lacking and provide an opportunity for more instruction at that moment while the students are awake and participating.
    We used clickers in our board review class last year. It was a game– each row of 5 was a team and we all competed against the other rows. Lots of motivation and competition made it a fun class for everyone. Just small rewards for winning (cookies, candy bar) were enough for the students to want to do well. Behaviorism at its finest–in college-level education!

  2. Brittany you stated above ” I really am empowered to try to incorporate them this fall into my course to add something new to the class.” And I am so glad that you feel empowered to add something new to your class! That is truly what innovation is all about and one of the things I wanted to get across in this course. I know you will do well with implementing clickers in your class. Sometimes the first go round can have some bumps but you can make it better each time. Your research indicates that there are mixed outcomes, which is fine, and sometimes innovations don’t improve grades but allow students to enjoy learning more…which adds value in a different way. Keep me posted on how the clickers go, I also like it when I’ve been in a class that uses them.

  3. Great use of the information out there on clickers! I loved all the great information you were able to quote! I loved using the clickers in class, like amy stated earlier, it was nice to have a little treat when the class scored a 100% Its a nice change up in the classroom, an activity where the students can be involved, and I feel a GREAT way to review information!

  4. I like the thought of incorporating the clickers into your classroom. I think that having the courage to change things is the first step. The second is getting the technology and you already have that. Third, would be learning to use the technology. Since you went to the in-service learning experience about the clickers, I’d say your are ready to go. Take your students on the journey with you. They will embrace the new technology and enjoy a change of pace for the classroom. Enjoy the fun with the new technology.

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