Friday, October 2, 2009

Audience Response in AP Economics

Summary: i-Clickers provide a way of involving students in the learning process and providing real-time feedback to the teacher.

How do you actively engage your students in the classroom? You might want to consider using an Audience Response System such as the i-Clicker in your classroom to poll and collect student responses to your questions.

My textbook representative, Richard Rosenlof, set up the system and used a flash drive to transfer my questions into the system in minutes. All Mr. Rosenlof did was plug into my USB port and minutes later I was quizzing students. I distributed a remote to groups of students and minutes later I was quizzing students on price controls. I was able to tabulate the results and students instantly received feedback on why their response was correct or incorrect. I know that once a student publicly commits to an answer, they will recall all information to validate their response. Much research backs up the use of response systems.

If you have shy students, the i-Clickers also allows them a chance to answer. The clickers can be used to take attendance and even administer quizzes. Listen to a podcast by Stephen Buckles, Vanderbilt University on how he uses i-Clickers.

Sarah Martin, an i-Clicker representative, said that are “Plug and Play” meaning that the audience response system are easy to learn. Ms. Martin says that teachers like the ease of use for teachers. “There’s no software to install and runs on any computer platform.” The main advantage of i-Clickers is that it's a non-proprietory product.  That is, whether you have PowerPoint, a Flash animation, Test Bank, or any application running, the clicker sits on top of the application without interference. And there's nothing to install.

The i-Clickers allow for easy on-the-fly editing. “Teachers like the spontaneity and flexibility to add questions when something unexpected comes up in the classroom,” said Martin. In addition, “Students can be nodding but not really getting it.” With the response system, you get immediate knowledge of instruction.

I liked the reinforment students felt from answering a question.  As a group of students answered more and more questions correctly, their motivation increased to answer the next question.  Using an audience response system like the i>clicker will enhance the utility of classroom instruction for both the teacher and the student.

Turning Technologies, , Padgett,  and irespond, are other companies that provide response systems.

About the Author: Mike Fladlien is an AP Economics teacher from Muscatine High School in Muscatine, Iowa. He is an author, and blogs at Mikeroeconomics.  Mr. Fladlien thinks that mobile devices will enhance competitive markets.  In 2008, he was ISEA Teacher of the Year Finalist.  He lives in Muscatine where writer Mark Twain wrote about the beauty of the sunsets.


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