6 Ways Instructors Can Enhance Learning by Using Classroom Clickers

August 27, 2015

A “classroom clicker” is like a remote control, but for students learning in a brick-and-mortar classroom environment. Instructors today are finding ever more valuable educational applications for these small keypad devices. On some campuses, instructors even require students to use a clicker in order to enroll in the class. In this article, learn about 6 unique ways instructors can enhance learning by incorporating classroom clickers into the curriculum.

How Classroom Clickers Work

Classroom clickers work to send responses via infrared and/or radio frequencies to a central processing unit located at the front of the classroom. The instructor can view responses to tailor classroom instruction in real time.

6 Ways Instructors Can Enhance Learning by Using Classroom Clickers

1. Clear up student misunderstandings.

This is an especially useful technique when teaching more complex topics. Instructors can ask a question designed to highlight student confusion or misunderstandings, then ask students to respond via clicker in a yes/no or multiple choice answer format.

2. Boost student participation in discussions.

Classroom clickers offer an easy yet anonymous way to poll the students and find out where interesting splits exist. This can then facilitate small group breakout sessions, classroom-wide debates and other valuable in-class interactions to enhance comprehension and retention.

3. Classmates and instructor can get to know each other instantly.

Use of classroom clickers is a great way to learn more about classroom demographics at the start of a new session. Since answers are instantaneously transmitted, collated and displayed, students also learn more about one another, which can translate into feeling more at home and “plugged in” right away so they are less likely to drop the class later.

4. Keep track of student progress anonymously.

Since each clicker has a unique serial number, instructors who assign a specific clicker to a specific student, as opposed to instructors who simply have students pick up a clicker at the start of each class, can track student comprehension and progress on an individual basis. For example, if a student consistently transmits wrong responses to quizzes at the start of the session, but responses improve in accuracy as the semester progresses, this is a good sign that classroom instruction methods are having a positive effect.

5. Cut down on out-of-pocket school supplies expenses.

Even at the college level, financial cutbacks have put many instructors in the awkward position of having to fund school supplies and materials out of their own paychecks. By requiring students to purchase a clicker for classroom use, instructors can now conduct paperless quizzes, exams and activities that are even more effective than their paper-centric predecessors.

6. Make classroom learning more fun!

When polled, by classroom clicker of course, students respond that the use of the clickers makes learning more fun. Incorporating a clicker into the curriculum can turn an ordinary lecture-based class into a real-time video game. The requirement to use the clickers also keeps students off their cell phones and devices during the class, especially since responses are logged as is the failure to respond

In addition to these 6 powerful ways to use classroom clickers to enhance in-class instruction, engagement and learning, there are many more applications that are just now being researched, designed, tested and applied. In this way, clickers today provide real-time learning opportunities for students and instructors alike.