Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Best Practices in Clickers

Clickers, also known as student response systems and classroom voting systems, allow students to answer teacher-posed questions using an electronic polling unit. Typically, an instructor poses a multiple-choice question by displaying the question on a PowerPoint slide. Students answer the question by pressing an answer button (A-E) on their clicker remote. The instructor has a receiver base which receives and processes the radio signals from the student remotes. After students have responded, the instructor can display a histogram of student responses.

Used by over 2 million students and 1000 institutions, iClickers increase student interest in the subject matter and enjoyment of the classroom experience. Using proven techniques iClickers can enhance learning by engaging students during lectures, through collaborative group learning and instant feedback from the instructor.


  • Active, student engaged environments.
  • Quick and efficient quizzes.
  • Time saving class attendance taking.
  • Interactive lectures.
  • Better Retention.
  • Instructor feedback.



  • Explain pedagogical benefits. Students who understand why they are using clickers are more likely to learn and not feel they are simply being tracked.
  • Provide clear instructions. In your syllabus, explain the process for purchasing and registering clickers, and describe class usage. An in-class tutorial on how to use clickers and an explanation of your clicker policies are helpful to students as well.
  • Award points for clicker participation. Students may participate more if a small percent of their course grade comes from their clicker participation. You can award points for correct answers, answer attempts, or both. Clicker grades can be imported into ANGEL.


  • Test the system with your questions before class. If the system works in the classroom you are occupying, your course will evolve more fluently.
  • Rehearse your presentations, especially practice including your clicker questions.
  • Things to consider:
    • Lighting
    • Signal interference
    • Device malfunction
    • Opening and closing clicker questions
    • Displaying answer histogram and reinforcing correct answer
  • Have a backup plan. Technology is beneficial, but mishaps do occur. If you have no backup plan you can lose your audience quickly. What happens if your receiver base doesn’t work or if a student forgets his/her clicker?


  • Pace questions at 10 – 20 minute intervals. For a typical class this would be 2 – 5 questions throughout one class lecture.
  • Keep questions short to optimize legibility. If your questions are long, it will take time for the students to read it, and more time to process the question, taking time out of the discussion after.
  • No more than five answer options. Less screen clutter means better comprehension.
    Include an “I don’t know” option to prevent students from guessing.
  • Focus your questions. Use sparingly to highlight major points.
  • Do not make your questions overly complex. When creating questions think of response time, but don’t over simplify either. Ask questions that are challenging but not too difficult.
  • Questions should spark interest. Construct questions that lead to discussions.
  • Allow time for discussion when designing your presentation. When engaged in peer instruction students grasp a deeper understanding of concepts and materials. This allows the instructor time to interact with students in another way to see if learning has taken place. You also may need to adjust the amount of content covered in class.
  • Discuss student responses. This allows time to reflect on the reasons behind their responses.
  • Use peer instruction. Before revealing the correct answer, have your students discuss their answers with one or two nearby students. Maybe allow them to change their answers based on their discussions.
  • Do not overuse the system. Overuse can cause loss of value to the students. Use the devise to help break up the lecture such as every ten minutes.


No comments:

Post a Comment