Some Days, Things Just 'Click' in the Classroom: Clicker Technology in the Introductory Us Politics Classroom
18 Pages Posted: 29 Mar 2010 Last revised: 9 Apr 2010
Date Written: April 1, 2010
One increasingly popular instrument of classroom technology is the clicker. With clickers, instructors prompt students' classroom engagement during class sessions in part by posing questions to which students respond through handheld wireless electronic devices. Even a quick reading of available literature shows that clickers may be a powerful means of facilitating a variety of promising active learning techniques by pushing more students in even the heavily populated lecture hall to engage actively during class sessions. While the natural sciences in particular have generated a robust literature on clicker-infused pedagogy, little research is available regarding clickers in the social science classroom, and almost none is available specifically within political science (Kam and Sommer (2006) is the exception). My goal with this project is to explore the technology's pedagogical potential in the context of the introductory-level US Politics curriculum. I will be investigating clicker use across two separate sections of introductory-level US Politics, ultimately analyzing data regarding both student attitudes (via anonymous student surveys) and learning outcomes (based in part on quiz and exam data). A variety of question formats and contexts will be investigated to determine which prove most promising for engaging general education students with the primary concepts, processes, and principles relevant to an introductory-level course in US politics.
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