Student response systems rise to prominence
In just a few short years, the classroom clicker has become a mainstay at CU.
“This technology is inexpensive, easy to use, and can transform a class,” said Douglas Duncan, an astronomy professor and author of “Clickers in the Classroom.”
The wireless student response system, or “clicker,” is a small plastic device that allows students to respond to questions projected onto a large classroom screen. It has found increased use in recent months, particularly with the induction of the iClicker model on the CU campus.
Jason Katzman, a textbook buyer for the CU Book Store, said that roughly 8,000 iClickers were sold last fall at the bookstore alone, and 3,000 last spring. He said this spike in sales is due to the superior technology and convenience of the iClicker over other models.
However, the ultimate goal is actually to decrease overall sales for student convenience.
Previous clicker models, which Katzman said were far less reliable, required regular replacement due to low quality.
Additionally, a variety of different clickers were being implemented, forcing students to buy more than one model. Katzman said the iClicker, which became the sole supported clicker on campus last fall, will solve these problems.
“Students will only have to buy one clicker for their entire career on campus,” said Greg Stauffer, an employee of Information Technology Services.
Stauffer also mentioned the benefits of the “close to no cost” nature of the iClicker receivers, of which there are 62 at CU.
There seems to be a positive reception of iClickers among the professors and instructors who use them.
Lal Zimman, a teacher and doctoral candidate in the linguistics department, said he is experiencing his first semester using clickers in the classroom.
“I was glad that the class seems to be liking them,” he said. “They’re mainly just a way to make the class more fun.”
Duncan said there are many benefits from the use of clickers, starting with the idea that clicker use increases retention of what is taught, facilitates discussion and improves class attendance.
Despite positive reception from faculty, student opinion of the iClicker seems to be mixed.
“I think CU uses them a lot better,” said Mikayla Ladwig, a sophomore MCD biology major.
Ladwig said she believes that the particular approach CU uses in implementing clickers is more effective than other universities.
“I like the way CU encourages people to talk,” she said.
Other students said they are not convinced by the benefits that many teachers stress.
“They annoy me,” said Kodi Kimminau, a freshman psychology major. “They seem like too much work than they’re worth.”
Ashlee Evens, a sophomore integrative physiology major, said she believes the clickers further separate the relationship between teacher and student by preventing and replacing actual discussion.
“They’re another excuse to draw the line between professors and students,” she said.
Contact Campus Press Staff Writer Spencer Everett at firstname.lastname@example.org.