Dot Physics

More Clicker stuff

I am seriously late on this stuff. First, by clickers I mean student response systems. In a previous post, I stated how much I like these things. The basic idea (in case you have never heard of them) is that these are small devices that students in a class have. The instructor (learning facilitator) presents some multiple-choice questions and the students click a button to represent their answer. The summary of the student responses can then be presented to the class.

Big whoop you might say. But it is a big whoop and here is why:

  • Technologically and logistically, these are trivial to get started with in a classroom. The price for these things isn’t too terrible. The barrier potential for these things is low.
  • This little change in a lecture class can help make a big transition from passive learning (listening to the lecturer) and active learning (students learning by doing stuff).

Although clickers are nice. There are some ways to make them better. Here are some resources from the recent AAPT meeting.


  1. #1 ian
    August 3, 2010

    My online classes, using Elluminate, had that feature. I wasn’t too enthusiastic, but I guess it did help with one thing, telling the instructor whether they could move on or whether they needed to linger on a topic, and it did so without anyone actually having to formulate a question. It’s like the equivalent of people going “uhh” and scratching their heads in unison.

    At the time I wouldn’t have noticed that, but having taught a class since, it’s obvious.

  2. #2 eNeMeE
    August 3, 2010

    A great thing to do for these things would be to not change the damn model every other year! Grr. Hate having to get another one and have my previous one rendered valueless.

    …other than that, they’re great.

  3. #3 Bob Calder
    August 8, 2010

    Leon Lederman told me in 2005 that the cost of a system like the ones in use today was about 250.00 per student. But it seems to me that using smartphones, the kids can log into your CMS and do the same thing. I use Moodle but I also have a full computer lab as well which makes that part easier. I expect I will have to survey the student body and see how many kids don’t have a data plan to be sure, but clickers are going to have a very short life if I am right.

  4. #4 CCPhysicist
    August 8, 2010

    Error 404 on that link to the talk by Ian Beatty.

  5. #5 Rhett Allain
    August 8, 2010


    Weird. It was working before – maybe that presentation was removed.

New comments have been disabled.