November 18th, 2010 | Uncategorized

Clicker madness at Yale and schools around the country

Say goodbye to checking Facebook during class, and say hello to “clickers.”

Clickers are hand-held devices which professors issue to students to track attendance and increase classroom participation. Students sign in to the devices, marking their daily attendance, and answer pop quiz questions over the clickers.

The New York Times reported that clickers are rising in popularity among colleges and universities. Over three dozen professors use these devices at Northwestern University.

Seven Yale classes are using clickers this semester: University Physics, Planets and Stars, Introduction to Statistics, Toward a New Understanding of Breast Cancer, Human Biology, Theory and Practice of Scientific Teaching, and Social Psychology and Relationships. Clickers are also used in Yale’s Medical, Law, and Business schools.

“The professors who ask their students to use clickers do so primarily because the clickers support their strategies for accomplishing pedagogical goals such as making large lecture sections more interactive, implementing peer instruction, checking the effectiveness of a lesson by periodically gauging students’ comprehension, or enabling students to respond anonymously to sensitive questions,” said Ken Panko, manager of the Instuctional Technology Group at Yale.

Be careful: professors can use new technology, too.

  • penny_lane

    Not a good way to track attendance…too many kids just give their clicker to a friend who can click it for them.

    Impromptu polls and quizzes are fun and helpful, though.

  • Josh

    The clicker questions were the only reason why about 1/3 of the General Physics courses was left….horribly taught course.