April 11, 2010

Let Your Students Express themselves

Filed under: April 2010,Tech Tutorials — mbrown @ 6:24 pm

by Doug Adams
Recently, the University of Kansas School of Education acquired a set of Activexpression learner response devices, commonly called “clickers.” These clickers are slightly larger than a cell phone, with a keypad and a number of specialized buttons. With them, a presenter can survey a class, get responses from the participants, and present the response data in real time. Results can be anonymous, or if the instructor assigns the devices to individual members of the class, responses can be logged and entered into a spreadsheet or database grading system.

So what can you do with it? A lot! The Activexpressions software allows instructors to pre-plan surveys or to create ad-hoc questions as they present. Responses can be multiple choice (including multiple correct responses to a single question), numeric, or open text. You can even create Likert Scale surveys and questions where respondents need to arrange items into a correct order. All responses are sent using the handheld clickers in real-time. The keypad is identical to that on most cell phones, so students have little trouble entering text or numeric responses.

When all of the responses have been gathered, the data can be shown immediately, in a variety of different graph styles. If the clickers are anonymously distributed, students won’t know who gave what response – which encourages all students to participate. They won’t have to be embarrassed about having a different opinion, or possibly not knowing the correct answer. Every student in the class can respond, and the instructor then knows immediately if the class understands the material.

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