From hand raising to popsicle sticks, clickers to smartphones, classroom polling is an effective way to gauge students understanding of the material, to generate classroom discussion, or even to give one shy student an opportunity to voice their opinion.
While the technology has evolved from coloured popsicle sticks to Classroom Response Systems, the pedagogical principles of student polling have remained the same. Instructors today have many options for gauging understanding on the fly in the classroom. i>Clicker has been one popular tool on campus. A clicker remote allows students to respond to multiple choice questions placed in presentations or posed by instructors. The i>Clicker software gathers the responses and converts the data into charts or graphs, and also allows comparison between questions and topics. This feedback can be used to quickly evaluate student understanding, or can be used to generate discussions in class among the students.
But iClicker and other companies are looking towards the future. Smartphones, tablets and laptops are replacing the clicker remote. iClicker has announced their Go app for iOS and Android. It allows students to use their smartphones to respond to questions in a mixed classroom where other students are using clicker remotes.
Tophat, a Canadian based company that focuses on audience response technology. The company has recently introduced their audience response application Monocle, which allows students to respond to polls from any device that can access the Internet. There is even an option in which students could text message answers from phones. Using an entirely web-based system, students can respond to multiple choice, True/False, short answer questions, and even graphically enhanced question. Tophat Monocle also has features such group discussion that works in conjunction with the response system. All the data you collect from students is stored in the cloud and can be displayed and compared in class or back in the office. Using these new tools allows instructors to leverage the technology to engage students on their own devices.
iClicker remotes are available to students through the bookstore. The Go app is available through Google Play or iTunes Store. Tophat Monocle is a web-app and is accessible at http://www.tophat.com and for a limited time Tophat are offering students a 90% discount for the fall semester if their U of L instructors are using Monocle. For more information or a demonstration of either system, please contact Tyler Heaton in the Teaching Centre.