Clickers in the lab

  • I began using clickers in Fall 2012 (i>Clicker) with my lab intro talk.
    – I found student acceptance very positive with comments like “clickers helped me think of …”
    – Clickers are required for the associated Physics course
  • I strive to ask 3 clicker questions in each lab talk
    – one review clicker question at the very start of the lab to encourage students to be on time and to review concepts from previous lab
    – two clicker questions at end of lab talk
  • Style of clicker questions
    – questions generally ask which is true (or false) with five statements. This requires students to reflect/review each statement. Statements can have different foundations (thus reviews five concepts)
    – students can talk with their partner and refer to their lab notebook
  • Clicker workflow
    – clicker question is shown on digital projector and polling started. Polling triggers a screen capture that is recorded with the poll
    – students click in. I look to encourage every student to click in
    – polling is stopped, usually when every student has clicked in (software show number of responses)
    – a histogram distribution of answers is revealed. A little humour if broad distribution
    – I review each statement answer with some background foundation. I find students seem to listen carefully to this review, perhaps because they now have a vested interest
  • Clicker grading
    – 3 points for responding plus 2 point if correct (total 5 points/question). This encourages students even if they get it wrong
    – End-of term I have the clicker software export responses and summaries to spreadsheets which I use for a clicker lab grade out of 5 marks (roughly 5% of the lab mark)
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