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Easy as a Click(er)

Mon, November 01, 2010 9:09 AM | Ranelle Maltas (Administrator)
You may have heard about Audience Response Systems (ARS), Personal Response Systems (PRS), Student Response Systems (SRS) and Classroom Response Systems (CRS). Most people refer to the device as Clickers. What ever you call it, many people have found them to be an invaluable tool to increase learning during instructor-led training. 

On campus, there are some professors that use clickers to just take attendance or a quiz. Although that works, it's not really the best practice. While training, you ask questions of the participants like "do you understand?" to determine of what you just said made sense. You hope someone is brave enough to shake their head "yes" or "no," but all you get is a glazed over look like you just spoke Latin. Quizzes are designed to give feedback to verify what the participants have learned. But you only get this feedback after the training and the papers have been graded.

Imagine you are training and you ask a question to find out if they comprehend what you just told them. On the spot, you find out who is awake and answered (anonymously) and if they really understood the concept. If you find they did not, you can at that point in time address the topic from another point of view. You can ask the question again to see if the responses have changed for the better or not. You can stay on topic until the topic is learned. This is clickers at work. 

There are a ton of options for clickers on the market. Two of the top are Turning Technologies and i>Clicker. Another popluar one is eInstruction. These are paid products where each participant has either a proprietary clicker or software for a laptop, and you have software to manage the responses. If you are looking for a more simple option, Poll Everywhere is gaining in popularity. It lets you use any mobile device without requiring the purchase of a proprietary clicker. Want to go more mainstream? Have people use Twitter and answer with a specific hashtag to filter the results or use twtpoll. Feeling adventurous? Try Text The Mob [Beta]. Participants can respond with their cell phones. 

If you just want to learn more, check out Derek Bruff's blog, Teaching with Classroom Response Systems, at http://derekbruff.com/teachingwithcrs. He literally wrote the book on Teaching with Classroom Response Systems.

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