Classroom Clickers – 5 Awesome Ways to Transform Your Student Learning

3 minute read

Have you ever tried to decipher your students’ faces as you’re lecturing? Wondered what lay behind those blank stares? If you answered a frustrated yes, then it’s time you adopt classroom clickers.

Classroom clickers, or student response systems, take the guesswork out of teaching. A mix of software and hardware, clicker technology enables you to collect and evaluate student answers to questions during class – no more head scratching and asking, “Are we on the same page?” Gauge student learning as it is happening and alter your lecture or classroom activities on the spot with clicker technology.

If it sounds like classroom clickers will make your job easier, just imagine what they offer your students. For example, ever seen a pupil’s face turn bright red when you correct him on an answer? It probably wasn’t very pleasant.

The risk of getting an answer wrong can lead many students to shy away from participating. But, with classroom clickers, young and mature learners are empowered to answer questions anonymously.

Classroom clickers come two ways: either as small handheld keypads or as printed cards embedded with a student’s ID. And, no matter which system you choose, setup is quick and easy.

Read on and in the next few paragraphs, we’ll teach you how to incorporate these powerful learning instruments in your classroom.

How to Use a Classroom Clicker

Once you pair each of your students with a classroom clicker, simply ask them a question, then collect the responses.
Classroom response systems with keypads, like iClicker, incorporate software that installs directly onto your computer. When students answer questions, their responses travel through radio-frequency signals to a receiver attached to your computer. This sophisticated, yet simple classroom performance system, collects the data then organizes it into a bar chart.

If you’re using cards embedded with your students’ IDs, like Plickers, all you have to do is scan the cards with your smartphone.

Sounds simple, right?

Now, for the best part: How to use classroom clickers to engage students and improve the learning experience.

Break the Ice

Think about your lecture. Is it long and full of technical detail? Will you be discussing a poignant theme in a novel?

Then, capture attention with warm up questions. With a clicker response system, you’ll be able to gauge understanding and modify your lecture to meet student needs.

If you’re interested in taking warm-up questions up a notch, try Catchbox’s throwable microphone. Activate your students’ brains from the get-go with a question and throw the mic anywhere in the room. See how they snap to attention as the microphone is tossed around.

Start a Debate

Want to know how your students feel about a controversial topic? Let them answer with classroom clickers!

Watch confidence grow as you share the results. Knowing that more of their peers responded the same way, students will feel bolstered and begin actively participating.

Split your class and have them debate controversial issues. With a classroom response system, you can even administer student polls to garner lasting opinions.

How about voting on hot-button issues? Classroom clickers also come with voting systems that let students vote anonymously.

Last, for a more energetic debate experience, bring a Catchbox throwable mic and give everyone in the room a chance to speak. By creating a multi-channel dialogue, students will be empowered to voice their opinions, which allow them opportunities to think critically and problem-solve.

Issue Pop Quizzes

Never let a lack of time keep you from assessing your students. Classroom clickers not only enable you to issue pop-quizzes, but they will also do the grading for you.

Know whether or not your students did their homework or read the material with a series of questions. Since each classroom response system pairs clickers with students, you’ll immediately see the answers and know who came to class prepared.

Without spending valuable time grading papers.

Surveys

While some lessons are easier to grasp, others are more difficult and require more time.

Use classroom polling to survey students about your lecture. With classroom clickers, students reveal their level of understanding in a safe, anonymous way. If it turns out most students understood your lecture, then bravo! It’s time to move on to the next topic.

But, what if they didn’t?

Then classroom clickers will tell you if a refresher lecture is needed or if students will better understand concepts through peer discussion. By using a classroom response system, students are empowered to answer truthfully without the risk of suffering humiliation from their peers.

Make it a Game

Want to add competition and excitement to your classroom? Turn a lesson into a game with classroom clickers!Do your students like Jeopardy or do they prefer Who Wants to be a Millionaire? With a classroom response system, you don’t have to choose one. You can do both.

Classroom clicker games encourage greater participation and engage students from all corners of the room rather than a select few. When students have opportunities to participate actively, they are learning to think on their feet and how to handle themselves in real-world situations. Plus, research shows that today’s students are well equipped to handle a gaming challenge and are even prepared to fail.

For more exciting classroom clicker games, check out this list from Oregan State University.

If you’re short on time, reserve a few minutes at the end of a lecture for a trivia match with Catchbox. Watch as the serious atmosphere is zapped away the second a colorful microphone is flung to a student. With the mic able to land on anyone, students who are shy or sitting in the back of the room have opportunities to speak in a fun, friendly environment.

So fun, in fact, you may even find yourself laughing.

In Conclusion

Classroom clickers are innovative solutions that take one-way lectures and turn them into active and inviting learning experiences where everyone has a voice.

Do you use a clicker system and know of a fun, easy way to incorporate it into your lectures? Share your tips in the comments below.

And, if you found this article helpful, share it with your colleagues so that they can learn all about clickers for classrooms.

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