Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Clicker Conference

Do you click? I do.

I never thought I would use student response systems (clickers). When I first experienced them in workshops promoting them, they were difficult to use. And frankly, nothing convinced me that they would benefit the learning process in my course.

That all changed when I read some information on i>clicker (a brand of response system) and how some science professors at the University of Illinois developed a system based on ideas generated by a study at Harvard that showed how they can be used to improve the level of engagement of students in a large lecture class.

So I tried it, and I'm hooked. I'm SO glad I did it!

I have a lot more to share on using clickers in A&P classes . . . and even some free resources for you to use (of course). That's coming up in a later post.

[NOTE: For those of you that use my texbooks, ask your sale rep about resources (clicker questions) and package deals for using i

But for now, let me pass on an opportunity to learn about clickers from the real experts. It's a whole day of best practices in using a clicker system!

It's all about continuing professional education here at The A&P Professor!

The announcement of the "clicker conference" is copied below:

Save the Date! Sign up Now!
"Classroom Response Systems: Innovations and Best Practices"


Hosted by the University of Louisville on November 15th, 2008

Are you using clickers right now and interested in learning about new ways to use them? If not, have you thought about using clickers but don’t quite know where to start? Join your peers at the University of Louisville’s "Classroom Response Systems: Innovations and Best Practices" Conference. This will be the first—and only--conference dedicated to the emerging role of classroom response systems in higher education.

As you may know, clickers have exploded in the higher education community as a tool to foster formative assessment, student engagement, accountability, and critical thinking. What makes clickers exciting is not the technology—it is the set of teaching practices and innovations surrounding their use. And this new, research-based conference is the perfect forum for examining existing best practices, as well as developing new ideas and models for the use of audience response systems in the classroom.

The Conference will feature numerous individual sessions (see http://delphi.louisville.edu/faculty/clicker_conf/schedule.html ) and two keynote speakers:

Dr. Timothy Stelzer, Assistant Research Professor, Physics, University of Illinois. Professor Stelzer has been heavily involved with the Physics Education Group at Illinois. He has led the development and implementation of tools for assessing the effectiveness of educational innovations in the physics introductory courses and expanding the use of web technology in physics pedagogy. He was instrumental in the development of the i>clicker classroom response system and is a regular on the University's "Incomplete List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent by Their Students." Dr. Stelzer will discuss his experience with and addiction to clickers, their best pedagogical application, and a look forward to the role they will play in transforming the classroom of the 21st century.

Dr. Doug Duncan, Professor of Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences of the University of Colorado and Director of Fiske Planetarium, is a national leader in presenting the excitement of scientific discoveries to the general public; he has appeared on BBC television and on the National Public Radio Program All Things Considered, and has lectured at the Smithsonian Institution. He is also the author of one of the first books about teaching with clickers. His book, "Clickers in the Astronomy Classroom" (published by Addison Wesley) is publishing in a second edition in late 2008 and shows evidence of its impact on student learning and attitudes. Dr. Duncan is a frequent speaker on the power of classroom response systems as a teaching tool.

For conference information, go to http://delphi.louisville.edu/faculty/clicker_conf.

Please promote this opportunity to others in your department and/or institution by forwarding this e-mail. Thank you!

2 comments:

Kevin Patton said...

To clarify a point made in this article . . . the reason I had found clickers difficult to use when I first encountered them is for at least two reasons:

1. You had to install a program on both the classroom computer and the computer(s)you use to create your presentations. That is not true with iclicker. It is already installed in a little box that you can plug into any computer without prior installation. You don't even need the box when creating presentations ahead of time in ANY software program.

2. The clickers I saw used infrared (IR) technology, which is what your TV remote uses. It does not work well for this application. The iclicker system uses radio frequency (RF) technology that works like a dream.

Cheers,
-kevin

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