New Classroom Student Response System Selected

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A new student response--a.k.a. clicker--system, i>clicker, has been selected for classroom use at the University Park campus beginning fall 2011. Information Technology Services (ITS) selected i>clicker following a classroom pilot of two clicker systems during the spring semester. The i>clicker system will be installed in all ITS-managed technology classrooms.

The ITS committee that selected i>clicker is recommending that all Penn State campuses adopt the system. This would ensure its familiarity to students transferring from one campus to another and result in cost savings for University students.

Students must purchase their own handheld devices, which will be available beginning August 1 at the Barnes & Noble at The Penn State University Bookstore or through a reseller such as Amazon.com. The cost will be no greater than $40. Students can resell their device once it is no longer needed.

The i>clicker system allows an instructor to pose a multiple choice question to the class, to which students respond by pressing A, B, C, D, or E on their response device. Responses are then compiled by the clicker software. Instructors can choose whether and when to reveal the results to students. They can also use the clicker remote control to advance PowerPoint slides projected in class.

Pedagogical uses of clickers include gauging student knowledge on a topic, providing instant feedback, improving class interaction and participation, and promoting more thoughtful discussion.

A survey of faculty and students who completed the spring pilot indicated they preferred i>clicker to the second product piloted because of its ease of use. Students reported it was the least complicated and instructors indicated it was more intuitive and made it easier to publish and grade question results.

Faculty and students can visit the clickers web page for more details on i>clicker features, how to get started, where to obtain help, and how to request consultation on best practices for use of clickers in the classroom. A blog showcasing Penn State faculty members in a variety of academic fields using clickers effectively in their courses is also available at the site.

For any questions about the i>clicker system, e-mail clickers@psu.edu.

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