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Effectiveness of Personal Response Systems as a Classroom Technology Tool at Clemson University
Unformatted Document Text:  classroom. (Ratto et al., 2003). It is not uncommon to realize after the midterm examination that important concepts were not properly understood by a sizeable number of students in the class. Clickers give on the spot feedback as to how well important concepts have been understood by the students. After teaching molecular genetics of maternal-effect mutants in his biology class, William Wood polled his class on a question relating to the concept. After the initial results, over half of the class got the answer wrong. Instead of being disappointed, an elated Wood remarked that; “for the first time in twenty years of lecturing I knew on the spot (rather than after the …examination) that over half the class didn’t get it.” (2004) The Data and Methodology It must be noted that using clickers alone in class does not guarantee increased levels of interactive learning and improved scores. There are other important variables at play as well. An important component of this is how well the instructor accepts this technology and his or her ability to use it skillfully. To put this to text, there was a survey of 367 students using clickers at Clemson University. The 367 students were made up of students in six different classes. 39% of the participants were females and 60% were males. 68.6% of the participants reported having a Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.0 or above and 31.4% reported having a GPA below 3.0. Four of the classes surveyed were in the sciences and two were in humanities. The students were given a 14 question survey asking them various questions about the use of clickers. Answers to the 14 questions were in the ordinal scale and students were invited to chose strongly agree, agree, no opinion, disagree or strongly disagree to each of the questions. The survey had two additional questions where students were free to write 9

Authors: Ainuson, Kweku.
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classroom. (Ratto et al., 2003). It is not uncommon to realize after the midterm
examination that important concepts were not properly understood by a sizeable number
of students in the class. Clickers give on the spot feedback as to how well important
concepts have been understood by the students. After teaching molecular genetics of
maternal-effect mutants in his biology class, William Wood polled his class on a question
relating to the concept. After the initial results, over half of the class got the answer
wrong. Instead of being disappointed, an elated Wood remarked that;
“for the first time in twenty years of lecturing I knew on the spot (rather than after
the …examination) that over half the class didn’t get it.” (2004)
The Data and Methodology
It must be noted that using clickers alone in class does not guarantee increased
levels of interactive learning and improved scores. There are other important variables at
play as well. An important component of this is how well the instructor accepts this
technology and his or her ability to use it skillfully. To put this to text, there was a survey
of 367 students using clickers at Clemson University. The 367 students were made up of
students in six different classes. 39% of the participants were females and 60% were
males. 68.6% of the participants reported having a Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.0 or
above and 31.4% reported having a GPA below 3.0.
Four of the classes surveyed were in the sciences and two were in humanities. The
students were given a 14 question survey asking them various questions about the use of
clickers. Answers to the 14 questions were in the ordinal scale and students were invited
to chose strongly agree, agree, no opinion, disagree or strongly disagree to each of the
questions. The survey had two additional questions where students were free to write
9


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