Changing face of education: Clickers in the Classroom

The way we conduct the processes of classroom education is changing. Technology is finding its way into classrooms in new and more interactive ways. Here is another example: from the New York Times:

If any of the 70 undergraduates in Prof. Bill White’s “Organizational Behavior” course here at Northwestern University are late for class, or not paying attention, he will know without having to scan the lecture hall.

Their “clickers” will tell him.

Every student in Mr. White’s class has been assigned a palm-size, wireless device that looks like a TV remote but has a far less entertaining purpose. With their clickers in hand, the students in Mr. White’s class automatically clock in as “present” as they walk into class.

They then use the numbered buttons on the devices to answer multiple-choice quizzes that count for nearly 20 percent of their grade, and that always begin precisely one minute into class. Later, with a click, they can signal to their teacher without raising a hand that they are confused by the day’s lesson.

But the greatest impact of such devices — which more than a half-million students are using this fall on several thousand college campuses — may be cultural: they have altered, perhaps irrevocably, the nap schedules of anyone who might have hoped to catch a few winks in the back row, and made it harder for them to respond to text messages, e-mail and other distractions.

In Professor White’s 90-minute class, as in similar classes at Harvard, the University of Arizona and Vanderbilt, barely 15 minutes pass without his asking students to “grab your clickers” to provide feedback

Read the articleNew York Times, November 15, 2010

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