Gardner Campbell applies a long-held infant assessment approach (Apgar Score) as a gate keeping strategy for students. By having students check in by answering a short set of questions, we can assess what they did to prepare for class, whether they have questions, are they thinking about the course, etc. This process can be done easily with an online quiz – using a LMS, a form, an online quizzing site, etc. – due before students come to class.
Another way to approach this is with a student response system. When students buy their books, the clickers are bundled and cost a mere $10. Instructors can use their existing PowerPoints and add questions that are tallied by the system. This means that they will have long-range data for each student.
At ISU we use Turning Point – it’s relatively simple and is extremely effective in keeping students attention, engaging them in the content, and checking for understanding. There are other companies that provide equally usable clicker systems.
It can get tricky if more than one instructor is using clickers – especially in adjacent rooms. At ISU each receiver has a different frequency and number. So when the students come into class, the instructor tells them what number to punch in … ta-da … no interference.
Not only can you use the clickers as gate keepers (the software package will allow you to take anonymous and named quizzes), you can also do the following:
- take opinion polls
- create interactivity during the lecture
- put students in pairs or teams and compete – this can really increase motivation
There are many more applications – what can you think of?