Wentworth Institute of Technology (UNITED STATES)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2009 Proceedings
Publication year: 2009
Pages: 1396-1401
ISBN: 978-84-613-2953-3
ISSN: 2340-1095
Conference name: 2nd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 16-18 November, 2009
Location: Madrid, Spain
Large classrooms and small classrooms alike face one common problem; student feedback that measure student learning. The end of the semester evaluation leaves a lot to be desired by the faculty because it is often a reflection of how the student thinks he/she is performing in the classroom rather than to provide an understanding of knowledge acquired. Student feedback is becoming crucial as we move from teacher-centered environment to the student-centered and more importantly the learner-centered environment.

Understanding how students learn is crucial to pedagogy. Faculty constantly strive to make assignments not only informative but also interesting to their audience and while summative assessment is necessary in the academic setting, formative assessment techniques are important to understand the student and provide scaffold for success.

Student evaluations are now-a-days increasingly used for promotion and tenure evaluations and are designed in a way that focus on how well a faculty teaches rather than how well a student has absorbed or learnt the concepts that were presented during the course of the semester. Although this practice is being debated, we are still losing the information that can improve learning process and make it more engaging and worthwhile for the students.

Clickers are a newer technology that has found its place in the blended-learning classroom today. Clickers have existed for more than two decades now in the form of hardware in the large classroom in big universities and they have become better and user-friendly with time.

This paper discusses using online clickers as a learning assessment tool in a small classroom setting. The rationale of using online clickers in a small classroom is justified in the millennial age. Today’s student known as either the millenials or the Generation Y is living in the age of facebook and twitter where communication is instantaneous and the prospect of paper seems alien to them. The use of technology strategically yields the best results and helps us understand how this cohort learns. Clickers use id’s rather than names making the students anonymous to each other and hence removing the barrier of shame among classmates.

The paper discusses formative assessment methods which include but are not limited to polling students in the classroom to access the understanding of a topic area, discussing muddiest points, pre-test and post-test during the class session to calculate the difference in understanding a topic area. The intention is also to show how the use of clickers solves problems of cheating and plagiarism and these controversial topics can also be freely discussed using the polling mechanism. This paper also shows how discussion and innovative teaching methods can utilize the use of clickers as a means to improve student participation in the classroom.
assessment, learning, collaboration, feedback, technology.