The PowerPoint presentation has, at long last, completely replaced the overhead projector in the role of communicating text and images to a large group of students in support of a lecture. PowerPoint allows us to draw upon and incorporate endless media types. Showing websites, video clips and animations to support and enhance our teaching is common place. However involving each and every student in a way that allows the tutor to test their learning and draw on student experiences is still challenging. It is in this area that clickers, or more precisely, Audience Response Systems can revolutionise the way we communicate with students in this setting.
Lecturers can test understanding by asking students questions. This may be to a single student or via a show of hands to gain a consensus of opinion. With clickers each student is issued with a radio transmitting keypad before the lecture and each and every student can use it to respond to questions from the lecturer by selecting their answers from a range of prepared answers created within PowerPoint via the pad. These responses could be a simple yes/No, agree/disagree, or offer multiple choice style answers. A read out is displayed during voting so the lecturer can make sure every student has responded and can then close the voting. Results are displayed in the PowerPoint slide. The results are shown instantly, via a choice of graph layouts and show an exact set of results that the lecturer can use to gauge understanding or opinion, and can then redirect, review, or carry on the direction of the lecture based on this. The crucial difference here is that all students are interacting and feel more engaged with the lecture.
It doesn’t end there, if used to gain information from the students about their opinions and experiences this data can then be made available via Moodle afterwards, for further research and study following the lecture. From case studies I have seen, some universities have required students to purchase their own response pad before they commence their study. This allows the pad to be registered to a particular student so a name list could be viewed with each response. It has also been used to register attendance.
More information is available from the manufacturers of the response system via these links
We’re interested in hearing from you via this blog if you
– Have seen or used an audience response system used in an interesting and innovative way
– Wish to use an Clickers in the future and want to find out more.
– Links or documents you have found helpful relating to this topic.
– Any comments