S. Hinderlie

Loyola University New Orleans (UNITED STATES)
This presentation analyzes the use of student response systems, better known as clickers, as active learning devices in a university classroom to enhance the curriculum of a traditional course. An actual demonstration of clickers will be used with selected attendees acting as students to show functionality and their relevance to learning. Reviews of recent literature and information regarding clickers will be presented as hard copy for conference attendees. A case study of the author’s personal use of clickers in his university course entitled "The History of American Popular Music" will be a focus of this presentation.

Today’s students have used computer games for entertainment and learning and rely more and more on active and game-based learning. With this in mind, the validity of traditional lecture courses comes into question, especially in large universities where a classroom can easily exceed several hundred students. Clickers are devices that provide easy-to-use technology to enhance the learning experience and provide active learning in small and large classrooms, becoming an important learning tool in higher education. The devices stimulate active participation by students and provide instant feedback to the instructor and students regarding materials being presented. Greater student engagement and interactivity results in a focus on understanding rather than recall and on reasoning rather than answers. Outcomes of studies involving the use of student response systems will be presented.

What is a clicker? It consists of a receiving station and a student-transmitting device using infrared or radio frequency technology that collects and records student responses to a faculty computer. Typically, an instructor will use a clicker system in conjunction with a program such as PowerPoint. Responses can be instantly projected on a screen to identify students’ knowledge of a topic, stimulate dialog, measure attitudes and opinions, increase attendance, and improve student attitudes. Doing so anonymously creates better participation by the group in general.

The history of the clicker began in a few universities in the 1990s as hardwired classrooms, and by the late 90s made the change to remote handheld devices. There are presently over 1,000,000 clickers in use nationwide in the United States. A list of products on the market will be shared along with a discussion about standardization and policies at universities.

I will demonstrate my use of the clicker in the general university course "The History of American Popular Music", and look at the positives and negatives of the system and its uses.

Finally, the future of clickers in the classroom will be examined with the attendees.