Thursday, August 16, 2007

Clicking through the lecture

Is this a piece of technology that the corporate world might want to consider for those lengthy lecture-driven presentations that often pass as training?

University of Delaware Responds to Classroom Clickers
Clickers are small wireless keypads that allow students to respond electronically to instructor questions at various points during class. They're generally especially useful in large lecture classes, where keeping all students engaged and at a similar level of understanding can be challenging.
According to the the article, students respond to prepared questions. I could foresee this as an opportunity for learners who would not normally wish to admit that they are not totally clear on a point, to "speak up" anonymously and let the presenter know that they need to focus some more time on the topic. If the presenter does not have the time to slow down on their presentation, the clicker device employed at the University of Delaware provides an opportunity for follow-up afterward.
Clicker responses are anonymous in class but are tracked by a device number, which is linked to a particular student. Some faculty members, for example, give a small amount of course credit to students for clicker responses.
Further review:

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Cammy Bean said...

I've been interviewing college students throughout the summer, and the use of clickers in classrooms came up a couple of times. At one school, every student has to purchase a clicker at the beginning of the year. Kind of like getting your student ID.

Professors track individuals' responses to grade class participation -- and keep track of attendance. No more falling asleep in the back row of Art History lecture!

I've heard there's been recent use of clickers at professional conferences. Similar, I suppose, to those instantaneous polls you might participate in during an Adobe Breeze online presentation.

dmcoxe said...

A coworker told me about a workshop where Twitter was used as a kind of clicker. I found that intriguing.

Of course I'm probably as guilty as many other college students for occasionally picking a seat in the back of a large lecture hall to catch some extra "z"'s, especially if it was an early class.

Cammy Bean said...

And I suppose students will get tricky and have their friends click for them(double-clicking, so to speak) so they can skip class undetected.

dmcoxe said...

Yeah, there is no foolproof way of ensuring that learners learn. I always recall the old adage: "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink." If the student doesn't want to attend a class then it's his loss.