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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

NY Times Endorses Clickers in the Classroom

Clickers Long-time readers of this blog know that I am an enthusiastic advocate of the use of clickers (Taking Back the Law School Classroom: Using Technology to Foster Active Student Learning, 54 J. Legal Educ. 311 (2004)).  The New York Times agrees: More Professors Give Out Hand-Held Devices to Monitor Students and Engage Them:

[T]he greatest impact of [clickers] — which more than a half-million students are using this fall on several thousand college campuses — may be cultural: they have altered, perhaps irrevocably, the nap schedules of anyone who might have hoped to catch a few winks in the back row, and made it harder for them to respond to text messages, e-mail and other distractions.

In Professor White’s 90-minute class, as in similar classes at Harvard, the University of Arizona and Vanderbilt, barely 15 minutes pass without his asking students to “grab your clickers” to provide feedback

Though some Northwestern students say they resent the potential Big Brother aspect of all this, Jasmine Morris, a senior majoring in industrial engineering, is not one of them. “I actually kind of like it,” Ms. Morris said after a class last week. “It does make you read. It makes you pay attention. It reinforces what you’re supposed to be doing as a student.” ...

Though the technology is relatively new, preliminary studies at Harvard and Ohio State, among other institutions, suggest that engaging students in class through a device as familiar to them as a cellphone — there are even applications that convert iPads and BlackBerrys into class-ready clickers — increases their understanding of material that may otherwise be conveyed in traditional lectures.

(Hat Tip: Tim Armstrong.)

http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2010/11/ny-times--2.html

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