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Blended Learning Examples

Lecturers talk about their use of Clickers

Lecturers talk about their use of Clickers

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Voting systems such as clickers and TurningPoint ResponseWare were made famous by their appearance in Who wants to be a Millionaire, where the audience responds to multiple choice question through personal keypads, and a histogram of responses appears instantaneously on-screen.

Within an educational setting it is easy to see where subject-area based 'quizzes' could provide an opportunity for formative assessment and help 'break-up' the lecture for student, and many academic instructors start out by using the tool in this way. The speed of the systems and integration into PowerPoint makes embedding and usage easy, and studies have shown that students find being able to anonymously test their own understanding fun, and instructors equally value the increased feedback on how well their students have grasped a concept.

However, as with most things, quality of use and development of pedagogic frameworks only come with practice. Instructors who make continued use of clickers find a continued gain where they are able to strive for and achieve further ways of using the systems that go beyond surface level testing and help to deliver on broader learning outcomes.

Regular clicker users describe an addiction to refining certain questions and answer sets year-on-year, finding those that deliberately split opinion thereby creating a discussion opportunity, with differences of opinion enabling students to build upon their learning rather than just testing for it. Other instructors relish the opportunity these systems present for providing greater interactivity in lecture rooms, where attitudinal questions are posed so that students are encouraged to examine their own views rather than seeing the lecturer as font of all knowledge.

This video, shot in 2012, features 4 instructors talking about the different ways they use clickers in their teaching, including footage taken within the classroom environment. Aside from being aimed at others looking to gain inspiration for their own teaching ideas, the instructors provide some simple tips on how new users should start out in using clickers within their own contexts.

You can watch the video here:

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The video features:

Dr Andrew Karvonen, Lecturer in Urban Sustainability, School of Environment & Design

  • using clickers to start discussion and interaction in large class teaching
  • personalising and contextualising the learning experience through attitudinal questions

Dr Paul Middleditch, Lecturer in Macroeconomics, School of Social Sciences
  • using voting systems within lectures for student practice
  • effective questioning for discussion and understanding

Suzanne Creeber, Manchester Leadership Programme, Careers and Employment Division
  • using clickers in careers training and information sessions to allow students to anonymously benchmark their career preparation against others
  • evaluating data from previous sessions to shape future provision

Dr Michael Wigelsworth, Lecturer in Statistics, School of Education
  • using clickers to demonstrate statistical research techniques
  • using clickers to reinforce and lighten the session