Clickers!

The best, most fun way to learn is through class interaction. Most particularly, through the use of clickers.

These handy little things really break up your lectures, keep you focused, and stimulate peer discussion. Also, they’re great craic 🙂 #feelinglikeachildagain

No one can concentrate for an hour at a time, so lecturers take note. Forcing students to think and remember what you’ve just talked about can only be a good thing. More than that, when students expect a question to come up, they’re more likely to pay attention to what you’re talking about! Also, they can also be used to take attendance…

They’re the main pros, but what about the cons? Well let’s see…

  • They’re expensive. It would be quite an investment for any college with about 16,000 students. I know we’re meant to pay €30 deposit or so for the year.
  • The lecturer has to be I.T. savvy. Let’s face it, an overlying program on top of Powerpoint isn’t the easiest thing to rectify if your computer starts mis-behaving.
  • Fickleness? I’ve seen the software and/or hardware not work quite a few times. Now whether this is due to lecturers’ incompetency in running the program or a problem with the plug-in 2.4 GHz USB receiver, who’s to know?
  • Clicker malfunction. I know I’m basing this on anecdotal evidence, but the clickers don’t seem to be up to reckless-student standard yet. The batteries don’t always last the full semester, and that 150 foot range seems to diminish with every trip in the front pocket of my bag.

Despite this, I would fully recommend every tutor/lecturer/professor to try and invest in them. If used properly and cared for, they fit nicely into the whole “iLearning” model.

What they could improve on? Well two things come to mind.

  1. It should be possible for Smart Phones to be used as Clickers. Now I doubt that you could connect 2,047 of them through local wi-fi (I think the clickers use radio signals to achieve this), but classes of 100 should definitely be possible.
  2. I know I’m nit-picking here, but I would LOVE if the Countdown song was played for the final 30 seconds 🙂

I think that’s about everything relevant on the subject. Moral of the article – Clickers are cool!

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