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.