KAHO Sint-Lieven, University College, Aalst (BELGIUM)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2011 Proceedings
Publication year: 2011
Pages: 385-391
ISBN: 978-84-614-7423-3
ISSN: 2340-1079
Conference name: 5th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 7-9 March, 2011
Location: Valencia, Spain
Clickers, formally denoted as student response systems, personal response systems or wireless handheld response systems, are –in Europe- a rather new technology which can be used to promote (inter)active learning for secondary and high school students (Martyn, 2007; Lasry, 2008). We will present several methods that can be used to implement clickers in science lessons. Based on our experience with this, we will share findings and opinions of both teachers and students.
Within our researchgroup clickers are used for interactive quizzes with secondary school pupils and college students. First, students are confronted with a scientific problem or phenomenon. Subsequently they get the assignment to think about the underlying scientific hypothesis/explanation by answering a multiple choice question with the (electronic) voting system. As the clickers provide a mechanism for students to participate anonymously, they can respond in a ‘safe’ manner, which will lead to a higher and more active participation. The use of Turning Point Technologies ( enables the teacher to collect clicker responses and to make the cumulative view of the class public after each question. Subsequently scientific discussions can be encouraged if students are allowed to explain and defend their opinion to each other. When opinions are questioned again using the clickers, often an increased number of correct answers are given. This form of peer instruction (PI) (Crouch & Mazur, 2001), whether or not combined with demo-experiments, appears to be a didactic method suitable for teaching both scientific knowledge and attitudes.
An alternative learning method with clickers, is used during physics lessons for college students. Firstly students are asked to study a certain subject and to put questions concerning the subject on the digital learning environment. Subsequently, during the contact moment, the docent tests using multiple choice questions and clickers whether the subject matter is sufficiently understood. If the percentage of correct answers is too low, the docent can allow peer discussion or give instructions and test again. Using this teaching method self-employance, as well as self-evaluation, cooperation and conceptual learning are encouraged. Students are stimulated to use correct scientific terms. It also encourages interaction and discussion within (large) groups of students, Last, but not least, this teaching method provides the teacher a clear view on misconceptions and difficulties of students concerning the subject.
Although it is not proven whether the electronic voting system itself, or rather the active learning method linked to it, is the cause of higher interest and motivation of students to study (science) and although we don’t have a view on the effect on examination results, we believe it is worthwhile to implement this technology (or a cheaper variant) in the science lessons.

MARTYN, M. 2007. Clickers in the classroom: an active learning approach. Educause quarterly (2007)2, 71-74
LASRY, N. 2008. Clickers or flashcards: is there really a difference? The Physics teacher 46, 242-244
CROUCH, C.H., MAZUR, E. 2001. Ten years of experience and results. Am. J. Phys. 69, 970-977
Physics, teaching method, clickers, voting system, peer instruction.