Appropriate use of clickers in the classroom.

1. Create a question that only 50% of the students will get correct on the first attempt.  This means that you will need a question that requires student to apply their knowledge to a new scenario, analyze or evaluate a scenario.

2. Pose the question to the class and give students 30 seconds to answer the question on their own.(this allows ALL students time to think and an opportunity to retrieve the information they have in their mind)

3. Have each student submit their answer.  Clickers or personal response devices is a good way to do this BUT you can also ask students to vote by raising their hand with the corresponding number of the answer- which means that the answers to your multiple choice questions will have numbers rather than letters for each option.(Having students submit answers makes them commit to an answer which has been shown to help them learn)

4.Review the histogram showing the students’ answers but do NOT show students the histogram.

*If only 50% of students got the answer correct, ask students to “talk to your neighbor” to discuss the possible answer.

*If more than 85% of students got the answer correct, than move directly to student discussion (step 6)

5.After students have had 30 seconds to discuss answer with colleague, have students revote on the answer. Percent correct should go up dramatically. (Once again student need to commit to their answer- to show an investment in their answer)

6. Call on a student (using random call) to explain the answer they selected and the logic they used to arrive at that answer. (This shows students that they need to be able to explain their rationale and helps them make better use of their discussion time as this is the opportunity to develop your explanation.)

7. If there is time you may ask other students to explain why other answers are incorrect.

Literature to support this protocol

Smith, MK, Wood, WB, Adams, WK, Wieman, C, Knight, JK, Guild, N, and Su, TT (2009) Why peer discussion improves student performance on in-class concept questions. Science, 323(5910):122-4.

Smith, M, Wood, W, Krauter, K, and Knight (2011) Combining Peer Discussion with Instructor Explanation Increases Student Learning from In-class Concept Questions. CBE Life Sci. Educ , 10:55-63

Angel Hoekstra & Stefanie Mollborn (2012) How clicker use facilitates existing pedagogical practices in higher education: data from interdisciplinary research on student response systems. Learning, Media and Technology  37 (3): 303-320