Monday, July 30, 2012

An Innovative Alternative to Clickers

I particularly like the idea of the “confus-o-meter” and “understand-o-meter” - that sort of clear, direct, real-time feedback is important for successful instruction.

Angela Chen ... App Tries to Increase Student Participation by Simplifying Clicker Technology

From clickers to programs like Learning Catalytics—which data-mines to match students with discussion partners—student-response systems are becoming more and more sophisticated. But Liam Kaufman, a graduate of the University of Toronto, thinks that the key to effective feedback is a tool with fewer bells and whistles.

Mr. Kaufman is the developer of Understoodit, a browser-based app that lets students indicate their level of comprehension during class, and then see how much everyone else understands.

The idea is that, during a lecture, everyone runs the Understoodit Web site, which is also accessible via mobile and tablet devices. Students press buttons to indicate that they either understand the material or are confused by it. The feedback is displayed in real time, in the form of a “confus-o-meter” and an “understand-o-meter,” which show the percentage of students who comprehend the material.

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