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TV and Clickers to Increase Student Learning

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Keywords: tv, clickers, student engagement
Subject(s): Biology, Science, Life Science
Grades 9 through 12
NETS-S Standard:
  • Communication and Collaboration
  • Technology Operations and Concepts
View Full Text of Standards
School: Mt Vernon High School, Mount Vernon, OH
Planned By: Stephen Farmer
Original Author: Stephen Farmer, Mount Vernon
In today's education world, checking for student understanding and diversifying lessons is a must. I am looking for a way to not only do short cycle assessments, but be able to analyze student data in real time. I am going to add "check for understanding" types of multiple choice questions throughout my lectures of a given topic. These questions could be answered from information previously given or from reading assignments the night before. To keep students motivated, I will assign a small point value for their responses. I am thinking of maybe .1 of a point for any answer and around .4 pt for the correct answer. Giving them a point for participation will hopefully alleviate any stress and making the correct answer worth more will be the motivator to do the readings and pay attention during class.

This could be done with paper/pencil types of assessments at the end of each period, but the students would not receive any feedback until the next day. My idea for accomplishing this comes from the use of a classroom response system, or "clickers". I will assign each student a clicker to use each day of class. They can pick these up from a central location in the room. All student responses will be immediately recorded and I can, at the click of a button, show the results to the class. This will allow me to tailor my instruction to student needs. If the majority of the class had an incorrect response, I can immediately go back and correct misconceptions. Another possibility would be to show the class the results to a question without showing the correct answer. They then could discuss the question with a neighbor and change their answers before they are recorded. This would encourage peer collaboration and critical thinking. I am sure I will discover many other possibilities too. I envision setting a certain number of points aside for these questions for each nine weeks and then having more than enough spot checks that being absent for a day or so would not be detrimental. I know that the chemistry department at the University of Toledo is doing something similar and is seeing success.

As teachers I am sure we have all realized that students were lacking in some of the concepts taught. The downside is that usually we don't see this until a test is scored and the students' grade suffers. This method will allow for redirection in teaching to address these shortcomings and allow students to benefit not just on the grade card, but from knowledge gained.

I am fortunate enough to have a set of classroom clickers in my building that I can use to implement this idea. I am, however, lacking in a way to project the questions and results. My current TV is way too small to serve this purpose. I am trying to secure a 60" flatscreen TV that I can wall mount in the center of my room. I have weighed the options between a TV and LCD projector for this purpose. I believe the TV wins out due to longevity, clarity, the ability to be easily seen with the lights on, etc... . The TV is a little more cost up front, but projector bulbs can get quite pricey and the new technology TV's should outlast a bulb a few times over.
Both of these items can be found online through Target stores.
Cross-Curriculum Ideas
Since science and math are tied so strongly, I can envision asking science questions that reinforce math concepts.
This concept can be used for any subject area, not just a science classroom.
Analyze data year to year to see if there are patterns in student's misconceptions. Change or re-word questions each year to better suit student needs and critical thinking.
Links: Target
Materials: Televisions, Cables
Other Items: 1 Vizio 60" Class 1080p 120Hz Smart Razor LED HDTV - Black (E601i-A3), $999.00 each, total of $999.00
1 Sanus Tilting Wall Mount Fits Most Flat-Panel TVs 32"-70" - Black (MLT15-B1), $105.99 each, total of $105.99
1 Monster Cable High Speed HDMI Cable - 12 Feet, $39.99 each, total of $39.99