A recent study conducted by The University of Colorado and The University of British Columbia said students improve cognitive skills when participating in class discussions with the use of clickers.
The research suggested using clickers to answer questions and allowing students to discuss the questions, enhances social cognitive skills.
Clicker uses three components; the response pad (or the actual clicker), the receiver and the software that displaying the information recorded.
‘You take the first answer and discuss it. After discussing it, you hear what other people’s arguments are and then you pole again. Then you are able to see how changes take place,’ said David Levin, director of Academic Technology at CSUN.
The study surveyed 350 genetic course students who were asked to individually answer a question projected on a screen. After being given time to ponder answers the students were instructed to discuss it with his/her neighbors.
After doing so, students were instructed to answer the same question again individually. Then they were given the second question to answer without the help of their peers. The report ‘Why Peer Discussion Improves Student Performance on In-Class Concept Questions’ found the average number of students who answered correctly increased from 51 percent to 68 percent.
Although some CSUN students and faculty might agree the study may be true, a divide as to whether or not the value outweighs the cost.
Political science professor and former clicker user, Lawrence Becker agrees there’s some truth to the study.
‘Clickers have some value but the pedagogical value is not worth the cost that students will have to pay to purchase them,’ he said.
‘You are paying 50 bucks to buy it and you may never use it again,’ said Diego Perez, a junior biology major.
Vahan Khodanian, finance major, said that clickers are popular in large classes. he said that students receive feedback at a faster pace than they would otherwise.
‘The only good is that teachers don’t have to grade papers and you find out your performance quicker,’ said Khodanian. ‘It is so quick that you can see why you answered the question the way that you did.’
Sociology professor and current clicker user Ellis Godard said, clickers help to keep the attention of the class and can help students to overcome shyness and eliminates peer pressure. Students are able to easily participate and give immediate feedback, he added.
‘(Clickers) are useful tool that other faculty should consider. They’re easy and efficient and they are kind of fun,’ he said.
Godard encourages clicker users who’re concerned about the price to look into Response Hardware, which gives students the option of using handheld phones such as the blackberry instead of clickers and it only cost about $15.