Friday, February 20, 2009

My clicker case

I used to think that clickers were stupid.

Wow, was that stupid.

I had some early bad experiences in worshops that used old-style clickers that didn't work very well . . . they were infrared (IR) systems that needed to be pointed directly at the receiver (which seldom works) and couldn't really handle all those responses coming in at one time.

And well, I just didn't get how it would help me or my students.


Extensive research has shown that clickers (student response systems) work. OK, really? Yes! Just introducing the use of clickers in your course can improve student performance by 20 % or more. Wow. That's not something I should just ignore, right?

Then I realized that the best college teachers continually get feedback from their students on whether they "get it." And a fun and easy way to do that is with clickers.

[I learned what the best college teachers do by reading the book What the Best College Teachers Do.]

And I learned that the new generation of clickers . . . the RF (radio-frequency) type . . . don't have any of the technical problems of the early types of clickers.

So I did it! And, wow, am I glad I did.

I mentioned in a recent article in this blog that I'd tell you more about my experiences with clickers in my classroom. It turns out that my friends at i>clicker . . . the type of clicker that I found works best for me and my students . . . just recently posted my experiences in a case study at their website.

So go visit my case study on their website in Faculty Case Studies (be sure to click on Biology to see my case listed). Then you'll learn more about why I'm now such a big fan of clickers!

Can you meet me . . .

Here's an issue every academic--students, faculty, and administrators--wrestle with all the time: arranging meeting times.

Students want to arrange times for study groups or lab partners to get together for a review session. Or perhaps arrange a time to meet a professor when the usual office hours don't work (or are booked).

Faculty need to arrange meetings with students, colleagues, book reps, or within professional organizations. Same thing for administrators.

Then there's arranging when a good time to hold a campus event might be.

Here are a few FREE online tools that can help do this easily and efficiently . . . and therefore painlessly!

Here's another one that I've used as a virtual "sign up sheet" to staff a booth representing a professional organization at a conference:

Check out each one. It'll only take a few minutes . . . they're simple and straightforward. Then decide which one will work best for you.

Do you have any of these . . . or another site (or another method) . . . that works well for you! PLEASE share your reviews and recommendations!