Getting Started

What is a clicker?

Clickers allow instructors to ask questions and gather students' responses during a lecture. (Clicker systems are also commonly called Classroom Response Systems, Student Response Systems, or Audience Response Systems). In clicker systems, each student uses a device (a "clicker") that looks like a TV remote to answer questions posed by the instructor in PowerPoint or another application. Summaries of student responses can be shown in real time to both instructors and students using the projector in the classroom. Answers are also stored electronically for later viewing.

Here are some basic ways to use clickers in lectures:

  • Facilitate class discussion.
  • Collect immediate feedback about students' understanding of lecture topics so confusion can be addressed quickly.
  • Allow students to share, discuss, and change their opinions before answering a question.
  • Collect data on course topics or learning preferences throughout the cycle of a course.
  •  Decrease grading time by collecting student answers to quizzes and exams.
  • Take attendance/reduce tardiness in large lecture courses.

Why Use Clickers?

  • It has been shown to increase students' attention and interest and to increase retention of information presented in lectures.
  • Using clickers to pose questions that require synthesis of information, such as asking for an opinion on a complex social or ethical issue, promotes critical thinking and helps make learning personal.
  • Clickers can transform large group instruction into an active learning experience.
  • Provides a "safe" way for shy students to participate in classroom discussion.
  • Allows anonymous, simultaneous, and fast response to instructor questions on class material or learning preferences.
  • Adds a little fun to the classroom.

If you're still interested, we'd recommend you look at our "Things to Consider" page.