Personal Response System and Web Clicker

From Clickers to Web Clickers: The Next Generation Cloud-based Free Personal Response System at WebClicker.org

– Lei Bao at webclicker.org, 3/6/2014

Classroom response systems, often called clickers, are a technology used to promote active learning in a classroom. There are several popular names for such systems including as student response systems (SRS), audience response systems (ARS), or personal response systems (PRS). Research has shown that by using clickers students become engaged and enjoy learning.

In a classroom, clickers provide a mechanism for students to participate interactively learning activities anonymously, to express their own views and ideas without peer pressure, to explore and reflect on alternative ideas and develop their own reasoning,  to obtain self-reflection and evaluation as formative feedback to their learning.

For teachers, the clicker technology also provides means to anchor and initiate meaningful discussions and other active engagement learning activities, to control and maintain effective and appropriate paces of learning, and to obtain formative assessment for optimized learning paths.    

In the past decade, hardware clickers have been widely popular in secondary and higher education, generating a wave of flipped classrooms. Despite the huge success, there are a few limitations impede the dissemination of the clicker methods into needed classrooms. First and the most central issue is the costs. Hardware clickers have a moderate price tag and require technology maintenance. The distributions of hardware clickers also require extra time and or costs to students.  Application wise, the hardware clickers have limited functions (often multiple-choice only), require PowerPoint integration, which is an extra time hole for instructors to prepare lectures,  and are often operated locally so that the questions, practices, and data cannot be easily shared, a critical weakness in building a collaborative learning community.

With the fast forwarding trend of mobile technology and community, it is time for an evolution to carry the hardware clickers into the cloud age. Through years of research and development, we now provide the community a free mobile based web clickers (webclicker.org), as an alternative option of free personal response system. The system works on any internet accessible devices (smart phones, Pads, PC’s, and Laptops).  Using the system is totally free. There are no hardware purchases, no app downloads, and absolutely no cost! Designed and developed by teachers and education researchers, it is a tool to upgrade your classroom for improved learning with effectiveness, convenience, and flexibility.

Using WebClicker.org

WebClicker.org

A Free Web Clicker System


Flip your classroom and have students voting
in less than one minute at zero cost!

 

WebClicker.org provides a free web based clicker system that works on any internet accessible devices (phones, pads, PCs, Laptops) with a working browser. Designed and developed by teachers and education researchers, it is a product for your classroom in schools or online, built for effectiveness, convenience, and flexibility.

Hardware and internet requirement are minimal. It is likely that 99% of college students have the equipment and connectivity ready. The load on network data is very light. Only a few bytes per vote. With 1 M data volume, a student can vote over 5000 times.     

The learning curve for using the system is typically under 3 minutes. A teacher unprepared can create a class and start voting in a matter of seconds. Coming into the first day of a class, a student can create an account, enroll into a class, and start voting under a minute (depending on texting speed and the lengths of user and class ID’s). Second timer students can pull out their phones and send in their answers in seconds (assuming the answers are decided).

Outside class in preparation, a teacher can create a professional looking question (with existing material) in less than 5 seconds (based on typical fluency in using a desktop computer). During a class, a teacher can create a new question for an emerging idea or situation in 1 mouse click.   

Now stop pure lecturing, start meaningful discussion, let peers teach each other, inspire curiosity, empower inquiry minds, and make learning a truly dynamic fun experience! Use webclicker.org and transform your classrooms. 

Accessing WebClicker.org

Preferred Browsers:

  • For back end class management and teacher front-end applications, please use any PC’s or Mac’s with Chrome, Firefox, Safari, IE, ….
  • Please update to the newest versions to enable all features such as drag-and-drop and copy-and-paste pictures.
  • For student front-end applications, use any device that has internet connection (WiFi or 2/3/4G) and a browser that is less than 5 years old.

Log in:

  • Teachers and students, on the front page, pick the channel for your institution or any open group that your teachers have set up. For example, OSU students will pick the OSU channel by clicking the OSU tab shown below:

  • Once get in your institution log in page, pick a role and log in.

 

Teacher Access of Web Clickers

After log in teachers can modify user settings, run a clicker session, manage classes, and create/edit questions for use with clickers.

Manage Classes and Questions

Before running a clicker session, teachers can do a few things to prepare for the class. The following page shows the back-end of the teacher's admin page, with which a teacher can manage classes, users, and questions. The default landing page is question management, where teachers can search and review available questions created by themselves or shared by others. Teachers can also create and edit their own questions.
 

 

Create and Edit Questions

Currently the system provides three types of questions that are most frequently used in classroom polling: Multiple Choice Single Answer, Multiple Choice Multiple Answers, and Short Text. The main body of the question should be a picture, which you can create with a screen shot of your word processor or power point pages, or any page you want to create a question with. When creating a question, try to fill out those descriptive tags to allow more accurate searches. The question text area is also used for search purposes. 

There are several ways to upload a picture: 1) take a screen shot and paste into the frame (Chrome and Firefox only); 2) drag and drop an existing picture or pdf file;  and 3) browse for a local file to upload.

Create and Manage Classes

A teacher can create and manage classes for running clicker sessions. Classes can be created on both the back-end page (shown) and the clicker application page (detailed later). 

With each class, a teacher can close or open for student self-registration, activate/deactivate the class, manage student users, mange clicker sessions to view clicker activity summaries and allow/disallow student access to questions after voting, and download student voting data in an excel file for further analysis.  

Advanced Admin Features

Admin users can create or manage communities that link multiple classes together (like courses), with which teachers can share questions and work as a team. Admin users can also manage settings for the institution channel, manually assign roles for teachers, manually create new users, and many more.

 

Ready to go? Hit the “Run Clicker” tab or “Run Clicker” on the teacher log in page. 

Also review the page on Run Web Clickers for further information.

 

 

 

Run a Web Clicker Session

Start the Web Clicker Launch Pad by click the “Run Clicker” tab from the admin page or “Run Clicker” link on the teacher log in page. 

Choose or Create a Class to Run Clickers

On "Run Clicker" page , teacher will see a list of previously created classes, and the teacher can also create a new class when running clickers the first time for a new class without any prior preparations. For an existing class, the teacher can click the class shown in the list and proceed to run web clicker sessions.  

For all classes, students can self-register and enroll into the class with the class ID. A teacher can also manually add a student into the class at the teach admin page.

 

Run a Clicker Session

Inside the clicker class page, you can create and run clicker sessions. There are three sections on the page:

  • The top is the voting sessions, which a teacher can enter to run clickers.
  • The middle is the list of selected questions that a teacher plans to use but may not need to use them all – it is a convenient collection for quick assess. 
  • The bottom is the list of questions that one can search from the entire question bank.

Once you have your planned questions selected, you can enter the voting session page to run clickers with your class.

 


Inside the voting session page, the top part is a list of questions that a teacher really plans to use. These questions are added from the list of selected questions shown at the bottom section of the page.

One unique feature is that a teacher can create a “Quick Vote” question on the spot if he/she decides to let students vote on anything either  drawings or writings on the board,  pages on the web, or words from mouth.

Once everything is ready, hit the “Run” button next to a question and a new clicker presentation page will show.

 

The Clicker Presentation Page and Functions

The clicker presentation page will show the question selected for voting and provide clicker functions including “Start” and “Stop” buttons, a timer, and “Show” and “Hide” voting results.

This page needs to be projected for students to see. On this page, you can also choose other clicker questions that you prepared for the clicker session directly. Usually a teacher can run all clicker questions for the entire class period without leaving this page.

If the page size doesn’t fit your screen, simply zoom it to fit – on a PC, hold “Ctrl” and scroll the middle mouse button or “+/-” keys. Use similar functions on the Mac.

 

After voting, the results can be shown to students to inspire further discussions.

 

Each question can be voted for many times and you can compare results for different votes to show learning and or start further discussion. A teacher can also create quick vote questions on this page – see the bottom part of the tool bar on the right hand side.

 

Student Use of Web Clickers (OSU example)

Students can use any networked devices with a browser: smart phones, pads, laptops (running any OS such as iOS, Android, Win, or anything with a browser) during a class:

  • Go to WebClicker.org
  • Click OSU Channel
  • Click Student tab (see the figure below)
  • Log in or Create an account.

Sign in with your account. You will see the page below:

This shows the status before a voting session is launched by a teacher, which shows no active questions on the question list. The student's current class is also shown, which can be changed with links in the menu.  Students can hit “refresh” to see if any new questions are activated for voting. 

If needed, students can change “Class ID” and “Password” in “menu” (upper right corner). To make changes to “Class ID” and or “Password” go to “menu” and select the corresponding sub-menus. A student is only allowed to vote in one class at a time. Students can switch to other classes if voting in those classes are needed.

 

When your teacher hit the “Start” button on the clicker presentation page, voting will start. At this time hit “refresh” to see the questions to be voted. Click the question, make choices, and submit your answers.  That is it!

 

 

Enjoy your flipped classroom with an interactive and engaging learning environment!

 

 

 

Clicker and Class Response System on the Web

Search Popularity of Different Names of Clicker

– Lei Bao at webclicker.org, 3/6/2014


Clickers have a wide variety of formally defined names by different manufacturers and users, which include Audience Response System (ARS), Classroom Response System (CPS), Personal Response System, Student Response System (SRS). To explore the popularity of different keywords, I did a simple Google search for the different names listed in the table blow. It turns out that Personal Response System is the most popular name for a clicker system.

As the different "response systems" are dominantly popular online, "web clicker" is 20-50 times less popular showing that web based clicker system is still at its young age, however, growth in the area is inevitable and rapidly developing. In addition, there are only 19 hits of "free web clicker" and webclicker.org is the only  true free web based student response system. 

Table 1. Search Popularity of Names of Student Response Systems (Clicker).
Data summarized from Google Searches on 03/06/2014.     

Names Google Google with " "
Audience Response System 37.3 M 146 K
Classroom Response System  20.7M 817 K
Personal Response System 177 M 55.6 K
Student Response System 112 M 124 K
Response System 537 M 1.11 M
Clicker 7.50 M  
Clickers 1.15 M  
Web Clicker 6.19 M 5.25 K
Free Web Clicker   19

Another more "ancient" name for clicker uses the word polling. It is now much less popular but still maintain a large user base. See table 2.  

Table 2. Search Popularity of Names of Student Polling Systems (Clicker). 
Data summarized from Google Searches on 03/06/2014.   

Names Google Google with " "
Audience Polling System 41.8 M 48.5 K
Classroom Polling System  1.07M 12.6 K
Personal Polling System 11.4 M 13
Student Polling System 5.59 M 1.5 K
Polling System 68.2 M 127 K
Polling 18.3 M  
Web Polling 16.4 M 14.6 K
Web Polling System 32.1 M* 28
Free Web Polling System 195 M* 5

*These names are much less popular but they all include popular words such as free and web. So the results here are not meaningful to the original purposes.