Student Response Systems
What are they?
Student Response Systems,also known as classroom response systems (CRS), audience response systems, or personal response systems, refer to systems consisting of devices that students can use to interact with an instructor's questions via computer software.1
Essentially, a student response system is technology that:
- allows an instructor to present a question or problem to the class;
- allows students to enter their answers into some kind of device; and
- instantly aggregates and summarizes students' answers for the instructor, usually as a histogram.2
Earlier systems used special devices, often called clickers, but newer systems let students use their own devices (laptops, smartphones, tablets, etc.) to interact with the lesson. While TurningPoint clickers are still available, WWU primarily supports Socrative Pro, which is a free-to-students bring-your-own-device student response system. For more information on setting up or using Socrative, visit ATUS: Socrative Pro.
Implications for teaching:
"...the technology has the potential to transform the way we teach... [especially] in large lecture settings. CRSs can serve as catalysts for creating a more interactive, student-centered classroom in the lecture hall, thereby allowing students to become more actively involved in constructing and using knowledge. CRSs not only make it easier to engage students in learning activities during lecture but also enhance the communication among students, and between the students and the instructor. This enhanced communication assists the students and the instructor in assessing understanding during class time, and affords the instructor the opportunity to devise instructional interventions that target students' needs as they arise."2
How are they used in education?
- Classroom response systems can be used with any size class, especially where prompt, anonymous feedback from students can aid instruction.
- Check for understanding during lectures.
- Provide short quizzes on readings.
- Poll for opinions on sensitive subjects.
- Ask for student predictions prior to observing an activity or presenting a myth-busting topic.
- Check attendance via one of the above methods.
- Using Clickers in the Classroom: Examples of instructional strategies that implement student response systems in lessons, from Russell James. While this video focuses on clickers, the strategies can be implemented using any audience response system.
- See "Strategies" below for more ideas.
What are some resources?
- 7 Things You Should Know About ... Clickers, Educause.
- Classroom Response Systems: A Teaching with Technology White Paper, Ashley Deal, Carnegie Mellon University.
- Transforming Student Learning with Classroom Communication Systems, Ian Beatty, University of Massachusetts.
- What Are Clickers and How Can We Effectively Use Them?, Eberly Center for Teaching Excellence, Carnegie Mellon University. Handout covering examples of how student response systems can be used in a variety of different courses, what value they bring to the classroom, and potential trade-offs.
- Classroom Response Systems Guide, Vanderbilt University - includes types of questions, activities, and examples.
- Designing Effective Questions for Classroom Response System Teaching, Ian Beatty et. al, University of Massachusetts.
- Google Forms as Clicker Alternative, Columbia Center for New Media Teaching and Learning.
- How To Use Clickers Effectively , University of Colorado Science Education Initiative.
- Students and Teachers Speak: Clickers in the Science Classroom , University of Colorado Science Education Initiative.
- Using Clickers in the College Classroom, Justina Brown, CIIA, Western Washington University. Video clip about clickers with a corresponding article.
- Creating a Good Clicker Question for a Flipped Classroom, University of California, San Diego.
- Writing Effective Clicker Questions, University of Iowa.
- Poll Tools:
- Socrative Student Response System, ATUS - information about using Socrative Pro in the classroom at WWU.
- Alternatives to Physical Clickers in the Classroom, Angel Brady, McGraw Center for Teaching & Learning, Princeton University. Ways to poll students in the classroom, and how they work.
- Poll Tools - Darling Library, Hope International University. List of polling software for professors, along with descriptions and pricing info.
- PollEverywhere and 5 Classroom Uses, Aditi Rao, TeachBytes. Explanation of how PollEverywhere works.
- QR Codes and Polls, Goshen College. Slides about creating, using, and sharing QR codes for use with PollEverywhere.
- Sixteen Suggestions for Teaching with Classroom Response Systems, Derek Bruff. List of things to keep in mind and try out when using clickers for polling in the classroom - includes information on what to keep in mind when writing clicker questions.
Where is there help?
- User's Guides & Software Downloads for Turning Technologies (response solution used at WWU)
- Learning Systems: Socrative, ATUS guide including tutorials and instructional strategies for using Socrative Pro
1. Center for Teaching, Vanderbilt University
2. Ian Beatty, Physics Education Research Group, University of Massachusetts