clicker technology

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monarda:
I went to a seminar introducing clickers and other active learning technologies today.

One complaint is that students have to buy them and then the classroom
(or the prof) has to be equipped with an appropriate receiver.

I was wondering, could this technology interface with cell phones?
(Since most students carry those already?)
I clearly don't know much about the frequencies involved.
Any techhies out there who can explain?

speed dial: beep beep boop beep boop
<computer voice> To continue in English, press 1.

You know the software is out there...
 
Buildings are outfit with phone lines already, right?

Or is this too expensive and in class assessment clickers
are better designed with the technology that's already
being used.

Just wondering if this was ever discussed on the drawing board......
any software or engineering-ed  types know?

mountainguy:
Monarda, it's an interesting question, but I'm not sure if I want students to have an excuse for keeping their cell phones out during class. The texters are annoying enough as it is.

And please pardon the thread hijack, but I feel the need to rant about clickers for a moment . . .

Despite all the ballyhoo about clicker technology, many forumites are skeptical of it. I must admit to being one of those skeptics. I'm sure it has benefits in some educational situations, but it seems to me that more often than not, clickers get misused by the lazy. I've heard people at my own university claim that (1) clickers reduce the amount of time they have to spend grading, and (2) clickers can be used to make students feel "more accountable" in large lecture classes. It's this second statement that really bothers me, because it implies that more technology means that we can increase class sizes and still maintain educational rigor. I vehemently reject that notion.

I don't mean to sound like a neo-Luddite with the above rant. But it's going to take a long time before I'm sold on the benefits of clickers.

OK, rant over. We now return to our regularly-scheduled thread.

alshealy:
I don't know about generic cell phones, but I recently saw a video about a school that was giving all of its students Iphones. I think it was Abilene Christian and the video was on their website. The video showed one professor using the iphone in just such a way using an application called Iquiz.

I've always wanted to use clickers, but never have. My understanding, however, is that there are a variety of business models depending on the company. Some require the student to buy the clicker (and the company provides the receivers for free). I think my campus has a portable clicker system that can be carried into a classroom and set up in a few minutes. As students come in, they pick up the clicker assigned to them. Then they drop them off on the way out. Of course this isn't as profitable to the company wanting to sell thousands of clickers, but it is available.

monarda:
I've only used them (myself) in clicker demo sessions (I've been to three of them now), but for one reason or another, (like some that have been mentioned by mountainguy) they haven't been adopted in courses I've been involved in teaching.  Usually bc the other 'team' teachers are resistant to change as a group.  I guess I'd like to give 'em a try, but I'm not (yet) convinced I'd get more out of using them than other lower tech 'insty' assessment tools. But I heard some good arguments to play with them today.

monarda:
And that's a REALLY good point.
they shouldn't be having their cell phones out.
you're right.

But I wonder if they could text answers...

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