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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Classes Still Clicking But Move to Phones

Most faculty fervently wish students would put their cellphones away while they’re in class. New student-response system apps for phones might change professors’ minds.

Clicker devices have become common in many college and university classrooms for fast, easy polling and quizzing. Instructors use them to take attendance, engage students in the lecture, and size up whether they grasp concepts. But students usually are required to buy the exact brand of clicker—or it won’t work in class—and must remember to bring it along. Some devices malfunction.

The mobile apps released for fall 2013 by i>clicker get around those hassles by enabling students to use their own Android or iOS cellphones as clickers, as long as the phones are able to access the web. The i>clicker GO software, which replaces its not-so-reliable web>clicker app, can also be used with tablets, laptops, and desktop computers.

Instructors can view voting results in real time and also save them into Excel spreadsheets. For students who don’t have an appropriate phone, GO can be used in conjunction with regular clicker devices.

The one down side for students is net cost. They can license GO for four years at about the same price as a brand-new clicker device, but they lose the market for used clickers.

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