AddICTive Tools for Evaluation: Clickers
Do red pens give you a headache? Does correcting formative tests for acquired knowledge make you dizzy? Are you looking for ways to save time…or trees? Do you want to be more efficient? Are you dreaming of pedagogically-viable strategies and techniques? Are you looking for change?
Evaluation plays a significant role in the teaching profession. Among the various facets of this important responsibility, feedback presents many challenges, and correction is sometimes considered an onerous burden or at least a less-than-inspiring task. Luckily, there is a whole array of digital methods and tools that can become your allies!
In this fifth part of our series of articles that accompany our In-depth Report on Evaluation and Digital Feedback, we present clickers and other instant response tools.
Clickers allow for interactivity between the presenter and the audience. In class, they can be used for question-answer communications between the teacher and students. There are 2 types of clickers (and some combinations models):
- Classic: A set of electronic remotes control units connected to an emitter-receiver connected to the presenter’s workstation.
- Clicker app: A tool (software program, app) that can be used on a variety of computer stations and mobile devices. The tool comes in 2 versions, one for the presenter and one for the participants.
Clickers offer lots of simple options for moderation and feedback. They are generally associated with large-group activities that offer access to results in real time. This kind of activity fosters student engagement and supports active learning strategies.
- It is generally possible to access the data later for more in-depth observation of the results.
- Some clickers can be used for computerized formative or summative knowledge tests, when they can be programmed to attribute a grade to an answer and match it with a student. This allows for group monitoring as well as individual monitoring.
- Some tools can also be used to answer questions in independent mode, at the participant’s own pace, rather than as a group, one question at a time (this is the case for Promethean’s ActivExpression-ActivInspire duo, for example).
The types of questions that can be used depend on the tool chosen. True-False, multiple-choice and short-answer questions are the most common, but some tools allow for rating scale questions, ordering and sometimes even short answers.
The topic of clickers naturally leads to the idea of online quizzes, because some clicker tools offer more advanced functions that can be used to monitor students individually. There is a natural affinity between clickers and formative (and sometimes summative) evaluation. The References by topic section in our In-depth Report suggests some excellent additional resources on the topic.
Tools to consider
- Voting devices: Turning Technologies (Response Card), iClicker
- Online or mobile applications:Socrative, Kahoot!, Poll Everywhere, Moodle, Realtime Quiz and Active Quiz, Mentimeter
- Survey tools: Survey Monkey, Google Forms and Microsoft Forms. These are not designed to work as clickers, but they generate a summary of the results of each question once the quiz is completed.
|Generally very easy to use||Preparation or adaptation of quizzes (depending on tool chosen)|
|Allows you to assess the group’s understanding, return immediately to certain concepts and adjust the rest of the course||Takes up class time|
|Facilitates diagnostic testing at the beginning of the session or when introducing a new theme||The class should ideally have a projector|
|Makes it easier to verify the students’ perceptions of a concept||Requires the use of technological equipment|
|Provides the students with instant results for self-evaluation and adjustment||Be wary of overuse (loss of motivation – variety is the key!)|
|Allows students to maintain anonymity if desired (e.g., for delicate issues, to give an opinion freely or launch a debate)||Free online versions are often limited|
|Encourages the participation of students who are shy, less engaged or afraid of making mistakes|
|Varies teaching techniques|
|Adds a playful twist to the course and may be motivating|
|Makes collaborative problem-solving activities easier, may elicit team discussions or friendly competition among teams|
|Useful for reviewing for exams|
|Can be used for summative knowledge tests (if the tool has the capacity)|
A few advantages and disadvantages for specific tools:
|Voting devices||Clicker apps (mobile devices)|
|Cost to purchase the voting devices||No additional cost to the college (use devices that belong to the college or students)|
|Equipment logistics (handling and distribution of voting devices)||Easily accessible for students using their own mobile devices|
|No distractions: voting devices have a single function||Equipment logistics if you do not use the students’ devices|
|Some products offer more advanced functions, sometimes even integration with common tools such as PowerPoint||Distractions are possible: the students may be doing something else on their devices|
|Online versions are often less developed than the programs designed for voting devices|
We invite you to visit our other articles in the AddICTive Tools for Evaluation series:
- AddICTive Tools for Evaluation: Digital Marking and Annotation
- AddICTive Tools for Evaluation: Monitoring In-Progress Assignments
- AddICTive Tools for Evaluation: Audio and Video Feedback
- AddICTive Tools for Evaluation: Online Quizzes
- AddICTive Tools for Evaluation: Collaborative and Self-Evaluation
Click on the link to to return to the landing page for our In-Depth Report on Correction, Feedback and Evaluation: Inspiring Practices and AddICTive Tools.
Are you inspired by these possibilities? Share your discoveries with your colleagues using the Share function! If you are already using technology to support your evaluation tasks, please share your experiences with other Profweb readers in the Comments section below.
Resources suggested by the author
- DAL-PAN, Alexandre. Socrative au banc d’essai à l’université. Profweb, March 2016 (in French).
- GAGNÉ, Julie.Pédagogie du vendredi. Profweb, January 2014 (in French).
- MACNEIL, Susan. Mixing Business with Pleasure: Using Socrative on Smartphones in Class! Profweb, January 2015.
- PONCE, Véronica. Honestly Clicking. Profweb, September 2012.
- ROUSSEL, Andrée. Reviewing for the Exam…and Having Fun! Profweb, March 2016.
- TCHIZE, Basile. The Smartphone in Class: The Potential of Mentimeter. Profweb, January 2017.
- TREMBLAY, Luc. Click for Concept-based Physics. Profweb, February 2009.