Thursday, May 24, 2012

Audience Response Systems in the Classroom

Heidi Adams and Laura Howard write: "Audience Response Systems, commonly known as clickers, are gaining recognition as a useful classroom tool" (54).  In their short article titled "Clever Clickers: Using Audience Response Systems in the Classroom" they define Audience Response Systems (ARS), explain the two major systems (radio frequency and infrared), and explain how the systems can be used to gather feedback, check for understanding, assess student learning, and provide specific ideas for using ARS in the classroom. 

As a tool to promote student learning, each student must answer questions with a remote control.  Results are shown right away.  Adams and Howard write: "Since the educators are able to see the results instantly, it permits them to evaluate student understanding at that very moment and provides an opportunity to adjust the lesson accordingly to improve student comprehension" (54).  It helps instructors know if students got it.  ARS can be used and adapted to meet the needs of each student and each class.

Of particular value, this article offers twenty ideas for using ARS in the classroom.  Here are just a few:
  • Comprehension Testing
  • Drill and Practice
  • Review Games
  • Questionnaires/Surveys
  • Voting
  • Checking for understanding during a lecture
  • Fact Finding or Pre- and Post-Tests (55)
Adams and Howard cite some of the literature in making their point that ARS are good for students, because they increase engagement in the classroom.  Students seem to like it more.  They write: "With clickers, every student answers every question.  Additionally, the questions will spark more questions from students that will lead to further discussion and understanding regarding the material" (55).  Additionally, the on-the-spot assessment or feedback lets students understand if they got it right or not (56).  They do not have to guess; this seems to cement the learning and can solidify the learning process, or the correct cerebral paths in the brain. 

Naturally, the ARS do not solve all problems and have a few drawbacks.  Adams and Howard claim: "As with any other type of learning, if ARS is used too often, students tire of it" (56).  In other words, students like the newness of the technology, but with time will become less interested in it.  Still, they assert "that the advantages such as instant feedback and increased student engagement far outweigh the downsides" (56).  The potential of these systems does seem fairly expansive.
Qwizdom Clicker.  See "Spotlight on Education: Sandwood's S.A.IN.T Academy Hosts First Annual Media Day." Duval County Public Schools.
 A sidebar in the article shows a half dozen brand names of ARS:

Work Cited
Adams, Heidi, and Laura Howard.  "Clever Clickers: Using Audience Response Systems in the Classroom."  Library Media Connection 28.2 (October 2009): 54-56.

No comments: