Friday, November 12, 2010

Student Response Systems

Classroom student response systems are becoming more and more popular as a tool for agile teaching.  Student response systems or "clickers" can provide teachers with rich, timely feedback on student understanding during a lesson and enable teachers to adjust their lesson immediately.

For example, a teacher may cover a topic on the periodic table of elements and twenty minutes into the lesson students are required to pick up a "clicker".  The teacher asks 4 or 5 check for understanding questions and results show up immediately on the overheard similar to the picture below.
Note:  " E" was the correct answer

If results are not favorable the teacher might continue to find ways to teach the topic, because immediate results indicate that students still don't grasp the concepts.  Or, the teacher could get students to "pair-share" about the questions as a form of peer teaching.  

In the November 2009 issue of Educational Leadership (p.80-83 and 83-84) , Robert Marzano and William Ferriter highlighted the research surrounding diagnostic tools like “Clickers” or Student Responders.  They indicated in their research that when used as a tool for assessment for learning, whereby teachers take the immediate results  from the data provided by this technology, student achievement  increased because teachers were willing to make adjustments to teaching rather than rely-
ing on professional hunches.

For more information about how to use student responders in your classroom I recommend Derek Bruff (2009), Teaching with Classroom Responders.

Here are some companies that provide this type of service;

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