Posted by: paralleldivergence | February 2, 2009

More Best-Practises for Clicker (or SRN) Use

Sometimes you just need some pointers to help you adopt this type of educational technology in your class.  This set of tips has been adapted from the University of Wisconsin

  • From the very beginning, explain to your class the pedagogic benefits of class participation (student engagement, collaborative learning, instant feedback, etc.) using clickers. The literature on clickers is wholly consistent that you should not promote the use of clickers mainly as an attendance taker or a quizzing tool.
  • Clicker questions engage student attention and participation. A common mistake is to use too many clicker questions during a class. On average, it is suggested that clicker questions should be spaced at 10-20 minute intervals to bring students back to attention! That means 3-4 per typical class session.
  • Use clickers often; it has been reported that student attention begins to drift after 10 minutes of traditional lecturing. Therefore 3-4 well-paced clicker exercises per 50 minute class session are reasonable.
  • When “too many” students answer a question incorrectly, go over the material again. Better yet, have students discuss the question among themselves. Then allow them to re-answer (i.e., re-poll) the question(s). Students enjoy the “lighter” moments of peer discussion in a big lecture class.
  • Start and end a class or topical unit with a key conceptual question. Such pre- and post testing tells you how well you got the information across, and lets the students see what they have learned. Students appreciate the instant feedback that clickers provide.
  • If you assign homework readings, use the first 5 minutes of class to ask a few (5-10) questions to see if students have read and understood the assignment. This is a great chance to be sure all students start your class session with the same prior knowledge.
  • Try ask students’ opinions about issues relevant to your course and use their responses to present new information and correct misinformation or misunderstanding.

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