Clickers

Classroom Response System

What are clickers?

These systems are just like the audience polling devices seen on television shows in which audience members vote, using a transmitter about the size of a remote control, for a favorite home video, for example. The classroom response clicker uses similar hand-held technology to facilitate student engagement with course content and provide a snapshot view of learner understanding during class.

KU has adopted the clicker system as a university-wide standard to reduce the financial burden on students and to facilitate technical support. There is no cost to faculty to adopt the use of these devices, but there is some upfront work involved in setting up the software and planning lessons that incorporate the interactive features of the system.

When students submit their “votes” (answers to questions posed by the instructor) using the clicker pad, the responses are picked up by a small receiver unit plugged into a computer. These responses are recorded and collated, and the aggregated data may be displayed on-screen as a bar graph or pie chart. This gives immediate feedback to students and the instructor about the learning in that class.

What kinds of teaching strategies could I use with clickers?

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Lecture with questions following – This helps to gauge how well students are “getting it” and reinforces important ideas.
  • Pop quiz – Can be given at the beginning of class over previously assigned reading, content covered in an earlier class session, or at the end to determine learning progress.
  • Answer/pair/answer – This technique consists of having students respond to a question, then having students work in pairs to discuss their answers, then answering again.
  • Confidence levels – This can be used in conjunction with other questions (i.e., asking, “Indicate how confident you are in your answer by pressing 0 for not at all and 5 for very confident”) or to indicate overall confidence in understanding the day’s material.
  • Polling – Using the anonymous feature, you can assess student opinions to spark class discussion regarding issues related to course content.
  • Muddiest point – The main points covered in the class period are listed and students asked which, if any, are still confusing to them. This can help to plan the following class lesson plan, or time can be allowed to cover the most frequently cited item before the class ends.
Learn to use clickers

If you are interested in using clickers in your classes, contact KU Information Technology at itedtech@ku.edu or call 864-2600. We offer training throughout the semester, as well as during breaks, and because we work with you one-on-one, we can accommodate your busy schedule. This allows us to tailor the instruction specifically to your needs. You can also check out the iClicker company website here.

Using clickers in KU classrooms

Clickers can be used in any classroom in which there is a computer and data projector available. Many KU classrooms have ceiling-mounted data projectors and several have computers permanently installed, as well. The only additional piece of equipment required is the clicker receiver that plugs into one of the computer’s USB ports. Several auditoria on campus (Wescoe, Budig, etc.) have receivers permanently available for faculty use, but if you are scheduled in a classroom without a clicker receiver, contact us and we’ll provide one. Software for using the system is freely available for download. 

Student clickers

If you choose to adopt iClickers in your classroom, you'll need to contact the KU Bookstore to be sure they order clickers for your course.  Students will purchse the clickers at the KU Bookstore just as a textbook.  Students will register their clickers in their course Blackboard site. Clicker registration allows course instructors to match students' responses to the students. After purchasing a clicker, there is no cost to the student to register their clicker for your course.

Helpful resources and guides

 


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