Clickers - Integrating technology into teaching and learning with interactive tools

Fiona Cust


The majority of students today are conversant with modern technology such as social media, the internet and emails – indeed, these are considered to be an integral part of daily life.  Integrating these technologies into teaching and learning should assist and enhance the student learning experience providing flexibility, accessibility, and a student focused approach.

For learning to be an effective process there needs to be positive student engagement, constructive feedback and the focus of learning, as suggested by Biggs and Tang (2011), should be shifted from the lecturer to the student – the student ideally taking ownership of their learning.  Many methods and styles of facilitating this type of learning have been explored over a number of years (Goldstein and Wallis 2015), however, one relatively easy yet effective means for engaging students in active learning appears to be the use of classroom response systems (clickers). When used appropriately the clicker can improve student learning outcomes in a number of ways (Goldstein 2013). They elicit discussion and enhance collaboration amongst students, they have proven to foster more honest responses to discussion forums, there is an increase in both student engagement and satisfaction within the classroom environment and they provide an instantaneous method of formative assessment (Briggs and Keyek-Franssen 2010). All of these positive factors are associated with best practices in learning.

A clicker is, simply, a student held handset for electronic feedback, voting, participation in class discussion, debate, and instant feedback. The benefits for the student include the maintaining of anonymity (if preferred), clarification as to whether they have understood the points being raised/discussed, and the opportunity to have a ‘voice’ without feeling intimidated or the fear of being ‘wrong’  (Bruff 2009).

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