TIRP Report - Senteo Clickers

Jan 26/2010

Re: Classroom Interactive Devices (Senteo Clickers)


Since the faculty acquired the class set of Senteo Clickers, I have spent a considerable amount of time trying to become familiar with these devices both in terms of their utility and their potential to enhance assessment practice. In fact I have used them in my 3604 courses and I’m also aware that my colleagues have used them in a 3504 class and for a workshop offered to peers.

My observations follow:

1. Potential for classroom use:

  • Effective use of the clickers can enhance formative assessment practices. They are particularly suited to quickly gathering specific information about how well the class and individual members of the class has grasped a concept.
  • To enhance their utility, they need to be used consistently and frequently so that they become an efficient way to gather data about student learning. A “one-time-shot” approach might be interesting for participants, but hardly worthwhile.

2. Planning:

When preparing to use the clickers, it is strongly advised that users thoroughly become familiar with how to set them up—including entering classes and class lists, designing assessment questions, rehearsing and practicing an assessment event, and displaying and summarizing results. It is imperative that teachers (university profs and classroom teachers) be thoroughly prepared before attempting to use clickers—failure to do so will almost certainly disenchant students.

3. Teacher Preparation:

I would rank use on interactive devices high on importance when reviewing our PS I & II curricula. The two big ticket items for teachers in 21st Century classrooms are assessment practices and effective use of technology. Using clickers in consort with Notebook software and Smartboard technology are examples of tools that re-define teaching. They are not toys and they are not supplementary strategies—they are a way of teaching. As such these should be front and centre in our teacher prep program—integrated into each of our course’s content, modeled in our teaching practice, mandated as required training (apologies for using such a crass term) and even certification here on campus, and evaluated in our practicum programmes. (Apologies for the editorial).

Recommendation:

Continue to encourage our faculty to use classroom interactive devices as a formative assessment strategy in education classes.

Art Aitken