Unit 1: What are Student Response Systems?

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Unit Objectives and Assessments

  • The participant will state the capabilities of a student response system to enhance student engagement by composing a journal-style reflection and incorporating outside sources.
  • Given a student response system and computer software, the participant will demonstrate use of the system by creating an assessment program using the appropriate design tools and interpreting results from a trial run.
CPS Pulse Clicker. Image from einstruction.com.
  • Given a clicker, the participant will demonstrate the use of the device by entering a series of responses using the appropriate answer entry methods.


Read "Engaging Students, Assessing Learning-- Just a Click Away": File:Hodges Engaging Students Assessing Learning.pdf

As you read, keep this question in mind: What possibilities do you see for using a student response system in your classroom?

Technological Basics of Student Response Systems

Student response systems are a classroom instructional technology which rely on student engagement through the use of remotes or 'clickers.' Each student has his/her own clicker and selects answers to questions by pressing buttons. The clicker transmits the student response to the receiver using a radio frequency and unique identification number. The receiver is plugged directly into a computer and linked to a software program that compiles student responses. This allows the teacher to track individual student responses. The teacher can also create graphs of classwide student responses anonymously. Most student response systems integrate with other computer programs and instructional technologies, like PowerPoint or an interactive whiteboard.

Engage and Reflect

Watch the video by the makers of iclicker, a particular brand of student response system. This video gives a basic idea of how iclicker works, which is similar to other brands of student response systems. Then, read pages 2-4 in "Classroom Response Systems" and pay close attention to the diagram on page 3. You can access the file from Carnegie Mellon University here.

Answer the following reflection questions in your journal:

  • Which basic capabilities of a student response system do you feel would most enhance your instruction?
  • Based on these capabilities, how do you anticipate you will use a student response system in the design of your lesson?

Put into Practice

Unpack your student response system and install the computer software (which may require an online download from the company's website). Watch training videos which correspond to your particular student response system (also available on most company's websites). Using 4-5 clickers, create a trial program, asking several different questions of different types (multiple choice, true/false, numerical, etc.). Use the clickers to answer the questions and make sure to input some incorrect answers, too. Create graphs of student responses and view the individual results. Export the results to a grading program, if you wish.

After completing this trial program, reflect on the following questions in your journal:

  • What was the easiest to do? What was the hardest to do?
  • What challenges do you anticipate students might have using the clickers?
  • How will you address those student challenges before instruction begins?

Next Unit: Unit 2: Why Use Student Response Systems?

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