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Classroom Response Systems

What are Classroom Response Systems?

Classroom response systems are used to interact with the audience during a lecture or presentation. The presenter can pose a question, run a poll or, for some systems, get text responses from the audience in real time. The audience members are able to respond using some kind of device. This is either a remote control distributed at the start of the session (also known as a clicker), or a mobile device with web access.

These systems allow for active participation by all students and provide immediate feedback to the instructor—and the students—about any confusion or misunderstandings of the material being presented.

The questions are usually limited to multichoice or true/false, although some systems allow text based discussions. The presenter sets up the questions ahead of time and controls their release during the presentation from a central point (such as the presenting computer). Once responses have been collected, the presenter can view them and display the results to their audience, generally as a bar graph or pie chart. Resources for how to write effective questions can be found below.

There are two classroom response systems used at Victoria. These are clickers, which use a remote control and a add-on to powerpoint, and GoSoapBox, which runs from a web browser and uses your audience's mobile devices.

Why should I use Classroom Response Systems?

Interaction and feedback are particularly challenging in large lectures, where class size limits faculty-student interaction. Classroom response systems can be used to ensure students understand fundamental concepts where getting the answer right is less important than identifying a knowledge gap or misconception. Lecturers use these devices to help keep their students motivated and engaged in what’s going on in class.

Lecturers can utilise classroom response systems to bring small group discussions to their large lecture classes. Although they are particularly valuable in large lecture classes, they are also useful in small classes. These systems also provide lecturers with the ability to fine-tune their instruction based on student responses. Lecturers can make adjustments or adaptations to their course as needed in any given situation.

For students they provide a quick way to validate their own learning, helping them identify areas that need improvement. Classroom response systems can also be used to gauge student opinion on controversial or sensitive issues. They are often used to catalyse debate and discussion, turning a passive lecture into an interactive exchange.

Data from classroom response sessions can be reviewed by lecturers or tutors and reported against to provide overall feedback and areas for review or improvement on course content.

Clicker technology allows you to:

  • Improve attentiveness;
  • Increase knowledge retention;
  • Poll anonymously and display polling results immediately;
  • Track individual responses;
  • Create an interactive and fun learning environment;
  • Confirm audience understanding of key points immediately;
  • Instantly gather data for reporting and analysis.

How do I use Classroom Response Systems?

There are two ways of using this type of technology at Victoria.

  • GoSoapBox is a cloud-based software which runs through a web browser and uses your audience's mobile devices. This means that your students need to bring a smartphone, tablet or laptop to class, but often can share a single device.
  • Clickers, which are currently being phased out, are available in some of the teaching spaces. These involve a physical remote control which is collected from the front of the room at the start of the session, and use an add-on to powerpoint. When you are requesting rooms for teaching you should indicate clearly in your booking your intention to use the hardware as we have limited numbers of them and they are moved as needed to support the most users.

Writing Questions

Resources to help you write effective questions:

  • Clicker Questions (Wiki). Clicker Questions, a wiki that aims to promote student engagement and stimulate higher-order learning through the use of clickers in undergraduate lectures. Created by Kevin Gould, a Professor of Plant Biology in the School of Biological Sciences at Victoria University of Wellington.
  • Blooms Question Guide. This quick guide provides wording to focus student feedback questions on differing levels of Blooms Taxonomy.

Support for Classroom Response Systems

If you have a technical or administration query, the ITS Service desk is your first point of contact, telephone: 04 463 5050.

Individualised support using this technology in your teaching is available from the LTTSs (Learning and Teaching Technology Specialists).

Support is also available from Centre for Academic Development (CAD) staff please send an e-mail to CAD-Contact or contact CAD staff, Stephen Marshall, Irina Elgort or Kwong Nui Sim.