Unit 2: Why Use Student Response Systems?

Return Home: Integrating Student Response Systems in Mathematics Instruction

Previous Unit: Unit 1: What are Student Response Systems?

Unit Objective and Assessment

The participant will evaluate the benefits of incorporating student response systems in mathematics instruction by composing a journal-style reflection and incorporating outside sources.


Watch the promotional video by iclicker, a particular brand of student response system. In this video, teachers who use iclicker in their classrooms describe some of the benefits of using a student response system in their classes.

As you watch, consider the following questions:

  • What benefits from using student response systems in their courses do the teachers describe?
  • Which benefits do you think would be seen in your classroom if you implemented student response systems in instruction? Why?

Benefits of Using Student Response Systems in the Classroom

Clickers in use in the classroom. Image from the UNC Teacher Education Technology Innovations Collaborative Wiki.

Student response systems have many classroom benefits. Research shows that the use of student response systems increases student engagement and student achievement.


  • Attention: Students pay greater attention for a longer period of time in a class where they use clickers to respond to questions during class.
  • Peer Discussion: Questions asked of the entire class can be a good way to start peer discussions; students can discuss their answer choice, whether it is a content or opinion question, with a person sitting near them to spark debate and exploration.
  • Less Pressure: Students who may be reluctant to participate when they must speak in front of their classmates may participate more when their response is anonymous. Also, students who may not want to express their personal opinion because of the sensitive nature of the subject may participate more because of the anonymity.


  • Attention: Students pay greater attention when they are using clickers, which means they are spending more time listening to the instructor, speaking with their peers, and thinking about the material. The more time you spend thinking about something, the more likely you are to learn it.
  • Misconceptions: By asking conceptual questions, instructors are able to identify misconceptions that students hold at the start of a lesson, which gives the instructor the opportunity to directly address them.
  • Feedback: By asking conceptual questions, instructors are able to identify areas which students have mastered and know to move on, or identify concepts which students do not fully understand and know to continue to address them.

Student response systems can also provide instructors with simple ways to take attendance and tabulate student participation.

Engage and Reflect

Read Chapter 2 from the book Clickers in the Classroom: File:Duncan Clickers In The Classroom.pdf

Reflect on the following questions in your journal:

  • What benefits does Duncan describe from using student response systems in instruction?
  • Which benefits would be most helpful for the lesson you are creating?

Additional Resources

Waking the Dead: Using Interactive Technology to Engage Passive Listeners in the Classroom - Rand W. Guthrie & Anna Carlin: File:Guthrie & Carlin Waking the Dead.pdf

Clickers in the Classroom: An Active Learning Approach - Margie Martyn: File:Martyn Clickers in the Classroom.pdf

Next Unit: Unit 3: How can Student Response Systems be Used?

Return Home: Integrating Student Response Systems in Mathematics Instruction