Pedagogically Effective iClicker Use

When and Where

May 11 2017 11:30-12:30PM | Evansdale Library G16 (Downstairs Computer Lab)

Session Information

When learning a technology such as iClickers, sometimes the new user's questions end up overemphasizing the details of technology use at the expense of why the it should be used. If pedagogical reason is unclear or if the new user doesn't learn to use them well enough to see the benefit, the user often drops clicker use as not worth the effort or uses it in a diminished way to simply take attendance or quiz students.

This is a lost opportunity. First, clicker use keeps students active during class, increasing their engagement and learning. Second, it gives students a chance to discuss and debate conceptually complex questions with their peers. Third, it provides frequent, in-class feedback to both instructor and student about how the learning process is progressing and allowing for adjustments as needed.

Using clickers in a pedagogically sound way can greatly enhance teaching, but the benefits aren't carried by the devices themselves. The way the instructor uses them makes the difference. These benefits require that students be told (and occasionally reminded) about why they are using clickers and that the normal classroom environment be one in which sound clicker use is expected, encouraged, and practiced. This isn't as difficult as it may sound, but it helps a lot if new users can observe another instructor who is experienced in using clickers to enhance student learning.

I use a research-grounded interactive method commonly known as Peer Instruction (after the 20-year old book by Eric Mazur). This method involves asking students to answer individually before discussing their answers. After discussion in groups and among the whole class, students are then asked to vote again. This process commonly generates a significant shift toward the correct answer between the two polls, based only on input from student discussion.

In this presentation, I plan to give participants a chance to use clickers out from the perspective of students. I'll also summarize the pedagogical research supporting the use of clickers in class and share some of the assessment data from physics that suggest it improves learning at WVU.


Paul Miller, Dawn Hernandez

Paul Miller

Dr. Paul Miller is a Teaching Associate Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy. His teaching focuses primarily on the first semester of calculus-based general physics, in which he has introduced undergraduate learning assistants and overseen multiple changes in lab format. He also teaches conceptual physics for elementary education majors using the research-based Physics for Everyday Thinking curriculum. In this latter effort, he’s part of a nationwide faculty online learning community helping to develop effective teaching of preservice elementary education teachers among more faculty. Paul has eleven years of secondary teaching experience from high schools in Oregon, Maryland, and West Virginia and is a former director of the National Youth Science Camp. His interests include physics education, informal science education, and physics demonstrations. He has used clickers in class since the fall 2009 semester.

Dawn Hernandez

Dawn has seven years’ experience with various course modalities and online educational tools in higher learning. She serves as Information Technology Services primary technical trainer for academic applications and software such as eCampus, Collaborate, Turnitin, Respondus, i>clicker and StudyMate. Prior to working as a technical trainer Dawn worked as an eLearning Application Administrator with the eCampus Unit and has been with West Virginia University since 2013. Dawn has a bachelor of science in management and marketing. Dawn provides training through hands on workshops, webinars, one on one sessions and documentation. In her spare time, she serves as chair of St. John’s University Works of Mercy, a disaster services volunteer for the American Red Cross and treasurer for Cub Scouts – Pack 44.