Clickin’ Away in Texas

Clickers in schools saves paper, time, and uses technology.  I have seen them used in college classes for multiple reasons.  These clickers give the ability to take attendance, get everyones participation, and know where students are in understanding.

According to Educause Quarterly, which did a study on this very topic, there were some very interesting results.  Current research describes the benefits of active learning approaches, which now includes Clickers.  They are a technology designed to promote active learning.  Most research is showing that students are more engaged and enjoy learning with them. That seems like a given. However, a study was done comparing the use of Clickers to traditional lecture methods.   The learning outcomes were high.

The study conducted was designed to compare to different kinds of active learning methods.   The two methods were class discussions and Clicker use.  The two things that a clicker could offer that class discussions could not were:

1) Clickers provide a mechanism for students to participate anonymously.

2) Clickers integrate a “game approach” that may engage students more than traditional class discussions.


Modern learners are now active learners.  This is the reason that lecture classes are more and more out of touch and irrelevant for students.  Clickers can help teachers in a number of ways:


1) Actively engage students during the entire class period

2) Gauge their level of understanding of the material being presented

3) Provide prompt feedback to student questions

Below are the interesting results that came from comparing class discussions and Clickers.










Are you considering using Clickers in your classroom?  Below are the best ways to implement Clickers in the classroom:

Best Practices for Implementing Clickers in the Classroom*

1. Keep slide short to optimize legibility.

2. Keep the number of answer options to five.

3. Do not make the questions overly complex.

4. Keep voting straightforward—systems allow complex branching, but keep it simple.
5. Allow sufficient time for students to answer questions. Some general guidelines:
-classes of fewer than 30 students: 15-20 seconds per question
-classes of 30 to 100 students: 30 seconds per question
-classes of more than 100 students: 1 minute per question
6. Allow time for discussion between questions.
7. Encourage active discussion with the audience.
8. Do not ask too many questions; use them for the key points.
9. Position the questions at periodic intervals throughout the presentation.
10. Include an “answer now” prompt to differentiate between lecture slides and interactive polling slides.
11. Use a “correct answer” indicator to visually identify the appropriate answer.
12. Include a “response grid” so that students know their responses have registered.
13. Increase responsiveness by using a “countdown timer” that will close polling after a set amount of time.
14. Test the system in the proposed location to identify technical issues (lighting, signal interference, etc.)
15. On the actual day of the session, allow time to set out clickers and start system.
16. Rehearse actual presentation to make sure it will run smoothly.
17. Provide clear instructions on how to use the clickers to the audience.
18. Do not overuse the system or it will lose its “engagement” potential.

To Click or not to Click.  What will you choose?


About heyamoose12

I am a Secondary Education major with a focus in English. I swim for the University of Maine and love to sketch and write on the side. I am a huge movie fan and love to go out with friends!
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One Response to Clickin’ Away in Texas

  1. Kelsi McHugh says:

    I love the use of clickers in the classroom, but I hate when teachers use them as a threat or a way to trick students. I have had several professors use the clickers to give trick questions and I think that just creates anxiety and it made me hate using clickers. This semester I have a class where they are simply used for class discussion. The professor uses them to poll the class, so he can get an idea of where students stand on certain issues. I love the clickers when they are used in this way because there is not so much anxiety and stress attached to them. He takes attendance on them, but it feels more genuine, he wants us to be in class learning and he cares about our opinions. Where as, my other professors used them to make the class more difficult, and scare students off. I am glad you posted some clicker advice on this blog, because I think it is important that teachers use clickers in a good/appropriate way or else students will hate them and the class.

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