## Effective Use of Clickers: Using Clicker to Maximize Student Learning

Article by Smith et. al (*Science,* 2009): Why Peer Discussion Improves Student Performance on In-Class Concept Questions

**Clickers have the potential to:**

- Engage students
- Give students practice on important concepts
- Give the instructor insight into what students are thinking
- Give students insight into what they do not understand

**Challenges implementing clicker questions:**

- Student buy-in:
__Explain__ why you are doing this (show research, etc...). Remind the students that sharing ideas is learning.
__Demonstrate__ why you are doing this (let them practice peer discussion).

- Student fear/motivation:
- Make it safe - value all answers that students are willing to share.
- Give low-stakes incentives:
- Participation points vs. points for correct answers
- At the end of a semester, substitute average clicker score for the worst homework score
*if it is better*
- At the end of a semester, give full points if they've answered 75% of clicker questions

## Implementation Tips

I**mplementation Tip #1:** Use clicker questions to focus on important learning objectives

- Low-order questions rarely promote meaningful discussion/learning, and encourages overconfidence.
- High-order questions - questions that really challenge students - maximize learning, and are a better use of class time.

**Implementation Tip #2:** Use peer discussion

**Implementation Tip #3:** Do not show the histogram after a vote unless students are evenly split - wait until after student reasons have been shared

- Students are 30% more likely to switch to a popular vote if they see the histogram (Perez et al., 2010).
- Students that picked an unpopular choice may be reluctant to participate in discussions.

**Implementation Tip #4:** Whenever you value student reasoning, *cue* them to discuss their ideas

- Kinds of Cues:
- Answer Centered: "Discuss your answers, we will talk about the correct answer afterwards."
- Reasoning Centered: "Discuss your answers focusing on the reasoning, we will share your ideas afterwards."

- When students were prompted to use reasoning, they were significantly more likely to engage with their groups.

**Implementation Tip #5: **Follow up - make sure many voices are heard

- Possible Techniques:
- Ask for volunteers to describe why they chose an answer
- Put students into informal groups, and randomly call on groups to articulate why they chose an answer