- Teaching Resources
- iClickers at UVM
Using iClickers at UVM
What is an iClicker?
The iClicker (iclicker.com) is one brand in a classification of tools referred to as "classroom response systems" or "clickers." Essentially, the iClicker is an electronic polling technology, developed by educators, that allows students to give instant feedback or answers to questions during class. Students use hand-held devices (similar to the remote controls) to enter responses by electronic signal to a central receiving station connected to a computer. Faculty can then graphically display students’ collective responses during the class for discussion.
Faculty use clickers in the classroom in a variety of ways: to check students' understanding of content, to increase student engagement during a lecture, to facilitate think-pair-share activity and small group discussion, gauge perspectives in controversial discussion, to administer quizzes, to take attendance and to track student participation.
Why are we focusing on the iClicker brand?
Many universities, including UVM, have decided to recommend one brand of clickers to reduce costs to students and encourage reuse of the hand-held devices, therefore reducing electronic waste. UVM's Faculty Senate Education and Research Committee have recommended iClicker as the preferred device for UVM.
Classrooms equipped with iClicker base stations
|Marsh Life Science 235|
iClicker support at UVM
The Center for Teaching and Learning can help you with your iClicker questions. We have clickers available for demos and to borrow on a trial basis.
To learn more, contact Holly Parker: Holly.Parker@uvm.edu
How to get iClickers for your class
Faculty may order iClickers at the bookstore for their classes, just as they would order books. Be sure to put an order in for all the students so everyone is able to purchase one. (Note: the iClicker remote uses a regular AA battery.)
Considerations for Practice and Pedagogy
Effective teaching with clickers requires planning. Here is a list of things to consider:
To get the most value out of using clickers, use them regularly through out the semester so that students become familiar with the technology. Students need practice and reminders to bring them to class, so start with low-stakes activities.
Take the time to explain the system, how it works and why you think it is important to your students
By using clickers, you are inviting students to participate and thus decreasing the amount of time you have to lecture. Adjust your expectations for how much content will be addressed during class.
If teaching a large course, wait until after the drop/add period before collecting quiz and attendance data with your clicker.
Writing Effective Clicker Questions
The nature of your questions can significantly effect the success of your use of clickers, so craft your clicker questions carefully. Clicker expert Dereck Bruff comments that “many people think of the multiple choice question as being only about factual recall, but the one-best-answer variation probes much deeper. A really good teacher can write really good wrong answers to a question—ones that key into common student difficulties with material.” (http://media.wiley.com/product_data/excerpt/30/04702889/0470288930.pdf) Write questions to ascertain students' prior knowledge of the content, or to see if they understand the current content being presented, and use students’ responses to gauge what you should address next or clarify.
Online Resources About Clicker Technology:
University of Wisconsin Best Practices on Clicker use:
Examples of good clicker questions in the sciences:
Inside Higher Education interview with Derek Bruf about clicker use in higher education
EDUCAUSE's "7 things to You Should Know about Clickers":
Blog by Derek Bruff
Teaching with Classroom Response Systems:
Resources for engaging and assessing students with clickers across disciplines
Ohio State University's reference list of clicker articles:
Discipline-based resources on clickers