TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

NY Times Returns to the Use of Clickers in Class

Clicker_2Regular readers of this blog know that I have taken a middle position in the classroom laptop wars, arguing that professors should neither allow untrammeled student use of laptops nor attempt to ban them.  Instead, I argue in Taking Back the Law School Classroom: Using Technology to Foster Active Student Learning, 54 J. Legal Educ. 551 (2004), that faculty should use technology in the form of clickers to re-engage their students.

Four years ago, the New York Times reported on my use of the clickers:  In Class, the Audience Weighs In, NY Times, Apr. 29, 2004.  The Times returned to the story yesterday in the high school and elementary school contexts in Students Click, and a Quiz Becomes a Game, by Winnie Hu:

The clickers are part of an increasingly popular technology known as an audience response system, which has been used for everything from surveying game show audiences to polling registered voters. That technology is now spreading to public and private schools across the country. ...

In a typical system, the clickers record data from individuals, and transmit that information, through wireless technology, to a computer program. The program can instantly display the results, tally them and present them in elaborate spreadsheets and eye-catching graphics like spaceships or “Jeopardy!”-style boards. It can track the percentage of correct answers received for each question as well as the participation rate among all users. ...

[A high school physics teacher] said that he was sold on the clickers because he could check on the progress of every student, not just the ones who frequently raised their hands and tended to dominate the discussions.

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