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Student Response Systems: Gimmick or Gift?

 

Students Using Clickers in the ClassroomAlthough trends in education are moving away from lecture-based instruction and embracing a more interactive, student-centered form of education, getting students to actively and willingly engage in classroom discussion can still be a battle. It’s easy for us to forget that students have a colossal fear of public speaking. Not only are they afraid of being wrong or “stupid,” but they are also afraid of having to verbally articulate their ideas on the fly.

This fear of public speaking (coupled with ongoing assessment trends) is, in part, why many teachers are making a case for using Student response systems, or clicker technology. Clickers allow students to silently chime in during lectures or respond to multiple choice and simple yes-or-no questions posed by the teacher. The instant—not to mention anonymous and accurate insight—gathered from student response systems can be used by the instructor to guide and assess student learning.

Yes, but do they work?

Skeptics of student response systems have suggested that they are gimmicky. Why though? Like any activity, clickers simply need to be tied to a clear objective. Obviously, overuse, or use not targeted to student learning, can diminish the true effectiveness of the tool.  

It is important to understand that student response systems are tools used to enhance student engagement and achievement. They should not be used as a standalone activity. Having a clear focus for how student response systems will support learning is crucial for maintaining their effective presence in the classroom.

There are many ways to use student response systems that are beneficial to both students and teachers:

Peer Instruction
After students submit their answers to a specific question, the teacher can refer to the histogram report to monitor overall understanding. If a majority of responses were incorrect, s/he can instruct students to discuss the question with one another. The entire class will submit their answers again, hopefully recording a higher percentage of correct answers.

Contingent Teaching
Teachers can use the data provided by the student response systems to gauge, in real-time, what students understand and what concepts need further instruction. This allows the teacher to adjust the instructional period to best meet student needs. 

Formative Assessment
Instead of waiting until the end of an instructional unit to assess student achievement, a teacher can use the system to periodically monitor understanding.  Utilizing student response systems can help with quick assessments without impacting instructional time.

There's a wealth of available information online regarding the use of student response systems. Here are two other resources to consider:

From Educase Learning Initiative: 7 Things You Should Know About Clickers 
By A. Louis Abrahamson: Teaching with Classroom Communication System - What it Involves and Why it Works

If you are interested in successfully integrating educational technology into your school or classroom, learn more about Marygrove College’s online Master of Education in Educational Technology program. And to ensure that a Marygrove education is an achievable, financially-sustainable investment, the college has reduced tuition rates for several of its online graduate programs—including the Master of Education in Educational Technology program—by 19 percent.

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Comments

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Posted @ Monday, October 22, 2012 5:29 PM by Used iPad
Student response systems is indeed beneficial for students as it has many uses. This technology is not yet familiar in the field of education but due to its specifications, very soon this technology will be common.
Posted @ Friday, November 30, 2012 10:46 PM by mole removal
I don't think so that student response system is a gimmick because this system has various uses as listed above. This system will certainly help both the students as well as the teachers.
Posted @ Friday, November 30, 2012 11:04 PM by dermatend
I totally agree with you that the students have a fear of public speaking and so this response system will indeed be useful at this point of time. This system will benefit the students as well as the teachers.
Posted @ Tuesday, December 04, 2012 10:32 PM by how it works
The fear of public speaking among students is quite common and so inorder to overcome this problem, students response systems are used.
Posted @ Wednesday, January 23, 2013 3:34 AM by fine art
So remember, first, that nerves are natural – even for the best public speakers in the country. Use your nerves to propel you through the speech, and know that your physical response to stress will only make the speech all that much more rewarding once you finally step down from that stage. Second, be authentic. Pick a topic that you truly care about, and the audience will be stirred to care as well. And finally, don’t be afraid to aim big. You were chosen to speak for a reason, and you have a meaninfgul story to tell. So take a deep breath and change the world. 
 
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A very good mechanism you have find out. This will brings more interest in students in studying enthusiastically.
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This system will certainly help both the students as well as the teachers.  
 
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