Perhaps the toughest part of teaching is getting students actively engaged in class, particularly in large classroom settings. One solution comes through the use of student response systems"clickers," small handheld units that students use to respond to questions in class (see the i>clicker brand device to the right). The teacher plugs a receiver into a classroom computer and uses the accompanying software to record student answers while asking questions in class, often in conjunction with PowerPoint slides. With a little practice, the process can become fairly seamless during the lecture, students get engaged by answering questions, and the teacher ends up with valuable data about student understanding. View some examples of how clickers can be used in teaching.
Ball State University has adopted i>clicker2 as our officially supported student response system. That means faculty members using this technology are encouraged to use i>clickers, but you are still free to use other systems if they better meet your needs. Standardizing on one system allows us to streamline faculty and student support, and it reduces the chance that students have to buy three different clickers for use in different classes.
Ball State University transitioned to i>clicker2 during academic year 2011-2012. i>clicker2 offers the same functionality of the original i>clicker, but it also includes additional elements:
- An LCD screen that shows the remote ID, vote confirmation, and frequency.
- Uses only 2 AAA batteries and features a battery life indicator on the LCD screen for a more accurate battery status.
- The ability to submit alphanumeric entry questions, ranking/order questions, and questions with more than one correct answer.
As faculty members continue the transition to i>clicker2, there are a few things to consider:
- i>clicker and i>clicker2 will work together in the same classroom--as long as you are asking only multiple choice questions.
- i>clicker2 base station and remotes will be required if you wish to ask alphanumeric questions.
Getting Support for Clickers
Faculty support for i>clickers is provided through iLearn. This includes:
- Workshops on the use of student response systems--introduction to teaching with clickers, writing effective clicker questions, and semester start-up and roster loading.
- Personal consultations with an experienced clicker-using faculty member, on both instructional and technical issues.
- Loaner kits to let you try out i>clickers before you fully adopt them (limited availability).
- Consultations on how you can develop a research project to study the impact clickers are having on your students' learning.
Visit the i>clicker web page for additional information about the product.
Other Clicker Pages: