Enhancing student engagement and classroom communication with clickers and text messaging
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Enhancing Student Engagement and Classroom Communication with Clickers and Text Messaging. Klaus Woelk Interim Chair/Associate Professor Chemistry Department Center of Educational Research and Teaching Innovation (CERTI).

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Enhancing Student Engagement and Classroom Communication with Clickers and Text Messaging

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Enhancing Student Engagementand Classroom Communication withClickers and Text Messaging

Klaus Woelk

Interim Chair/Associate Professor

Chemistry Department

Center of Educational Research and Teaching Innovation (CERTI)

Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate EducationChickering and Gamson (AAHE Bull.1987, 39, 3-7)

Principle 1: Encourage Student-Faculty Contact

  • Frequent student-faculty contact is a key factor in student motivation, involvement, and learning.

  • Faculty concern helps students get through rough times and continue to strive for success.

  • Devise methods that actively and successfully promote student-faculty contact with both individual students and larger groups of students.


Are clickers innovative?

Are clickers innovative?

Are they transformative?

Can you do things you can’t do without?

Writing Good Clicker Questions

Some suggestions

  • Use frequent clicker questions rather than long, monolithic once-per-lecture question periods.

  • Give students more feedback on their performance than just the standard histogram or pie-chart answer distributions. Discuss both right and wrong answers choices.

  • Consider allowing students to answer a question first as individuals and then the same question again after group discussion (peer instruction).

Taxonomy of Clicker Utilization

  • 6 basic categories

    • 3 categories to test the current standing or stipulation of students

      • Attendance

      • Preparedness

      • Interest

    • 3 categories to probe into the learning progress

      • Learning

      • Understanding

      • Applying

        J.Chem.Educ.2008, 85, 1400-1405

I am

I do

Click ― I am here


Taking and honoring attendance reduces the number of students dropping out or finishing with low grades (DWF’s).

Doing it with clickers is particularly efficient in large-enrollment courses.

8 of 30

Many of us know the historic town of Washington, MO. Which other name refers to a town in Missouri?

  • Pittsburg

  • Philadelphia

  • Nashville

  • Cleveland

  • Denver

  • Knoxville

  • Miami

  • Houston

Click ― I am prepared


Clicker quizzes on assigned reading assure preparedness for the topics covered in class.

Well-picked question and appropriate grading are essential.

2 of 30

Trivia question:The first person to survive plunging over Niagara Falls in a barrel was a 63 year old woman.

  • Fact

  • Crap

Annie Taylor did it in 1901, and afterwards was quoted as saying: “No one ought ever do that again.”

Click ― I am interested


Polling on common knowledge or opinions (even on controversial issues or common misconceptions) creates initial interest and motivation.

It is crucial that students have developed trust in the technology, especially, if responses are collected anonymously.

5 of 30

Political uncertainties in several African and Asian countries demand that we increase the recovery of crude oil in the United States.

  • Strongly agree

  • Agree

  • Don’t know

  • Disagree

  • Strongly disagree

Click ― I learn


On-the-spot assessment improves student alertness and offers immediate feedback on the learning progress to both student and instructor.

Repeating a question or posting a similar one can be used for progress evaluation and student satisfaction.

The Criss-cross Rule









4 of 30

Which ionic compound has a cation-to-anion ratio of 3:2 ?

Apatite: Ca3(PO4)2

  • Aluminum carbonate: Al3+ CO3 2-

  • Calcium phosphate: Ca2+ PO4 3-

  • Magnesium carbonate:Mg2+ CO3 2-

  • Sodium nitrate: Na+ NO3 -

30 of 30

A density of 2.24 g/mL results when 2.24 g of material occupy a volume of 1.00 mL.What mass (in g) of the same material will occupy a volume of 3.00 mL? Enter your result correctly rounded off to 3 significant digits.

30 of 30

In what order will you see exit signs to the following Missouri towns when driving I-44 from Rolla to St. Louis(1) Bourbon (2) Cuba(3) Leasburg(4) Stanton(5) Sullivan(6) UnionEnter all numbers in the correct order but without spaces(e.g., 123456)

Correct: +1

Incorrect: -1

Grading of Clicker Questions

  • acknowledge participation

    • correct 2 points

    • incorrect 1 point

  • participation is not an achievement

    • correct 1 point

    • incorrect 0 points

  • encourage discussion

    • correct 1 point

    • incorrect-1 point

Click ― I understand


Asking about a subject matter in different ways provides insight into students’ understanding.

Active learning is fostered by encouraging peer discussion and instruction during the response time or by a repeated poll if the responses are split between different answers.

4 of 30

Is a concept understood?At which location would an observer find the greatest force due to Earth's gravity?

  • The center of the earth

  • The middle of everywhere (Rolla)

  • The north pole

  • The tropic of Cancer (23.5 N)

  • The equator


5 of 30

How confident are you that your answer was correct.

  • Absolutely sure

  • Very confident

  • Confident

  • Not very confident

  • Not sure at all

Click ― I apply


Conceptual knowledge and mastery is created when clicker questions branch into areas beyond the material covered in class or in the textbook requiring the application of newly taught concepts to real-world or open-ended problems.

8 of 30

To facilitate the conversion of H2S2O8 to yield S2H4, you must add as a key reactant …

  • … a strong acid.

  • … a weak acid.

  • … a base.

  • … an oxidizing reactant.

  • … a reducing agent.

  • … a polar solvent.

  • … a non-polar solvent.

  • … nothing (the reaction will occur by itself).


  • Clickers are found in many highschool, college, and university classrooms

  • They provide more than just immediate feedback to instructor and students

  • Six basic ways of utilizing the power of clickers

    • Attendance

    • Preparedness

    • Initial interest and motivation

    • On-the-spot assessment (formative assessment)

    • Active learning (peer discussion and instruction)

    • Problem-based, deep learning (mastery of concepts, applications to real-world, or open-ended problems)

I am

I do

Texting as a Teaching Tool

  • Imvrybsyrght now im in class 

Texting as a Teaching Tool

BF Boyfriend or Best FriendBRB Be Right BackEN1Anyone

G2GGotta GoGF GirlfriendH&K Hugs And KissesIRL In Real LifeJIC Just In CaseJK Just KiddingL8R LaterLOL Laugh Out LoudNP No ProblemOMG Oh My GoshP911 Parent AlertPOS Parent Over ShoulderTMI Too Much InformationTTYL Talk To You Later

from: http://www.textually.org/textually/archives/2009/02/?p=2

In-class Telephone Numberfor texting comments or questions:

(573) 612-1-MST


(573) 612-1678

Receiving Text Messages in the Classroom

  • Internet phone & texting account(e.g. Google Voice)

Receiving Text Messages in the Classroom

  • Internet phone & texting account(e.g. Google Voice)

  • Bring a laptop computerto class

    • connect through wireless university connection

    • deactivate screen saver and power-save mode

Receiving Text Messages in the Classroom

  • Directly

    • casually monitor activities on laptop computer

    • react immediately

    • distraction from teaching

  • Indirectly

    • TA monitors activity on laptop computer

    • TA extracts appropriate questions and comments for immediate response

    • delay between question and answer (immediacy)

Clickers and Text Messagingin a Hybrid Classroom Environment

  • Face to face

    • Students come to class

    • TurningPointTM of Turning Technologies

    • Google VoiceTM for text messaging

  • Synchronous online

    • Students monitor class on computer

    • ResponseWareTM of Turning Technologies

    • Google VoiceTM for text messaging

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