In 2000 collegiate classrooms were introduced to “Classroom Clickers.” These small devices were given to each student and were wirelessly connected to a master clicker held by the professor. Clickers are making classrooms all over the country interactive by having students answer quiz questions and get involved with presentations as fast as possible. When a professor poses a question on the projector screen, students can answer it from the clicker in front of them and the professor will automatically know how many students answered the question correctly, who answered correctly, and who needs more help with the given topic.
Clickers first appeared in larger, lecture-style classrooms mostly in the sciences but are now available for every class size in almost every subject. One physics professor from the University of Colorado poses a question every few minutes to see how well his students are grasping the material in front of them. In a large class of 200 or more clickers are a highly effective way of making sure every student gets the attention he or she needs. If a low percentage of the class gets a question correct, then more time needs to be spent on that topic.
Students can buy their own clicker or rent one from their school but clickers are an added cost to the already sky-high prices of textbooks and other classroom supplies. To make up for this clicker companies are coming up with app-like software for smart phones and iPod touches.
Students can also access a professor’s material through the web and respond to questions immediately without using a clicker. The debate surrounding this topic is if students are on the web what is to stop them from not paying attention? More often then not students use their laptops during a class, but clicker technology might give students more incentive to pay attention to the professor rather then surf the web.
Do you know anyone who uses a clicker in their classroom? Do you think this technology is helping students learn?