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Review of Two Classroom Response Systems for Instant Student Feedback

Educators: are you looking for instant feedback from your students? Consider one of the following student response systems for your classroom. A brief description of system features is listed below:

The i>clicker interactive student response system relies upon a base unit with proprietary software and dedicated presented remote (hundreds of dollars) plus a remote-controlled “clicker” unit used by each student ($40+ per student, plus shipping, plus batteries). After the teacher uses a computer to enter questions and possible multiple-choice answers, and after students register their remote-control units online, students indicate their responses by pressing the corresponding button on their remote-controlled unit. Responses are communicated to the instructor over radio frequencies; to avoid interference, students and teachers in each classroom should align clicker unit frequencies by pressing the power button until their unit indicator lights flash, after which point each student should enter the same two-digit frequency code to enable communication from their unit. Students are advised to monitor battery status; units that lose power will not register responses with the central system.

i>clicker student clicker unit

An alternative to clicker technology in your classroom involves time-tested technology with “retro” appeal. This mode of instant student response technology can be used with supplies that are available everywhere at a low cost (less than 10 cents) and easily replaced in case of malfunction, although single units can be used repeatedly over the course of a semester. After the teacher reads a question aloud or writes it on a chalkboard, student responses can be instantly communicated to the instructor over the standard electromagnetic spectrum with the support of standard classroom lighting or sunlight, in a manner that is impervious to radio-wave or infrared interference problems. In tests, technology crash rate is effectively 0%.

The Classroom Response System that Always Words: Pen and Paper

4 thoughts on “Review of Two Classroom Response Systems for Instant Student Feedback”

  1. Dave says:

    Does the alternative include batteries for when the electromagetic spectrum is down?

    1. Jim Cook says:

      The electromagnetic spectrum is never down, except when the sun is down.

  2. Bill says:

    These electronic clicker things are all the rage these days in the corporate world. Shortly before I told my last employer (a Fortune 500 company) to take this job and shove it I was trapped in a 3-day conference of the corporation’s top 100 executives worldwide, where we were preached at by the new incoming CEO about how the company was an orchestra and he was the freaking conductor, goddammit. We were all given clickers and frequently throughout the three days were asked to vote our agreement or lack thereof with various statements. When, near the very end of the meeting, the statement put up for a vote was something like “I support the new CEO and his vision for the company” the vote was roughly 60/40 against. After a long awkward silence the moderator announced that maybe there was a technical glitch with the clicker system, so we tried again, and with the same result. It was then announced that clearly the clicker system had been fried by a power surge or something, so we’d try again with a good old-fashioned show of hands. That vote was 99-to-1 in favor of the CEO. I submitted my resignation the next day, because life is waaaay too short.

    1. Jim Cook says:

      Sadly hilarious! Possible anonymity is one of the few advantages of those electronic system. Another is speed — if you’ve got the support to keep the system going.

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