Clickers and classroom engagement : the impact of audience response systems on student attentiveness and engagement
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Student engagement is a critical component of effective classroom instruction. Many socio-constructive pedagogies, including active learning and peer instruction, depend upon students not only paying attention to, but actively shaping, the learning environment. Student response devices, such as clickers, are thought to increase student engagement by providing students with regular opportunities to check their comprehension or express their opinions. Claims of increased student engagement due to clicker use are often based upon student self-reports and have only a small correlation with observed learning gains or other measures of attentiveness. This paper compared self-report data, pre- and post-test scores, and a direct test of attentiveness to investigate what effect clicker use has on student engagement. Analyses showed that subjects using clickers were significantly slower to respond to tests of attentiveness than subjects in other conditions. This suggests that using clickers affects what students are able or willing to attend to during a lecture.