Teaching with Clickers
What is a clicker?
A clicker is a tool used to promote active learning. The clicker using at the HKUST is called Personal Response System (PRS). Using the clicker, students in a classroom or a lecture theatre can respond to questions posed by the instructors with the click of a button, all at the same time. This provides a means:
- for the instructor to instantly assess students' understanding of the subject matter;
- for the instructor to collect instant feedback from every one of his/her students;
- for students to participate actively in class.
- It is affordable - the cost per user is no more than that of a typical paperback textbook.
- It is time saving - it can be installed and is ready for use in minutes.
- It is easy to use - the operators and users can learn the operations in minutes.
- It is scalable - adding new users is easy and economical; the network can start with a small number of users then expand to cover the entire student population on campus by simply adding the corresponding numbers of transmitters and receivers.
- It is secure - the ID in the transmitter can be changed only with the use of an ID changing adapter.
- It is portable - the wireless transmitters and receivers are pocket-sized and, in an educational circumstance, students can be equipped with their own ID-coded transmitters for the use in any classroom.
- It is a learning tool - its simplicity makes it useful in all levels of education from primary to tertiary.
- It is a teaching tool - it helps create a class seating chart on line, it facilitates the administration of quizzes, tests and polling, it permits the attachment of a confidence level (high, medium, and low) to the answer sent.
- It has two modes of operation - they are the Known mode in which all ID-tagged responses are recorded, and the Anonymous mode in which they are not.
- It has two modes of display - they are the full-screen mode, which shows the largest possible image of signals received, and for the result histograms, and the half-screen mode leaves half of the screen for the question or instruction to be responded to.
- Extensive classroom testing and the use of well established IR technology have led to this simple and functional system, which is robust and sufficiently low-cost to make it affordable for all students to own their personal transmitters for the use in any classroom. Hence, PRS could become a universal learning tool in our classrooms.
Why use clickers in your teaching?
Clickers can make a real difference in your teaching. Clickers are for you if you want:
- your students to pay attention to what you say in class;
- 100% participation in question-and-answer sessions;
- immediate feedback and reinforcement;
- automatic attendance check;
- automatic recording of student answers;
- a lesson to be reasonably understood before going to the next one;
- test or quiz results to be prompt, with automatic grading;
- shy and disadvantaged students to be proactive;
- students' opinions and preferences to be instant;
- continuous monitoring of students' progresses, both individually and as a group;
- to encourage peer instruction in your lectures.