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A LOOK AT ... Student Response Systems

By Charles G. Doe - Posted Jul 1, 2010
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Student response systems (SRS), also called “clickers,” are handheld devices that help teachers poll students during class sessions and tabulate the responses. This technology is the same (often with the same devices) as that used when audiences are asked to vote on something during a television quiz program. These systems are also known as classroom response systems, personal response systems, and audience response systems.

Basically, this technology enables students to respond to a question by entering their answers into a handheld device. A computer using specialized software registers all of the student responses, possibly as many as hundreds of them at a time. With a computer, projector, or a whiteboard, a teacher can display a graph of class responses, discuss group or individual responses, or use the information for lesson planning and other purposes.

Response technologies vary tremendously. Some make it possible to use a cell phone or other handheld device as a clicker. Some enable users to respond with text only, with numbers only, or by pressing one of three or four buttons. Some models allow students to press a button when they don’t understand what’s going on or in other specific situations; some only allow responses to specific questions.

Some technologies identify the responses of specific students; some don’t identify users. Some automatically feed answers into grading systems and can be used for administering paperless quizzes. Some can be used for taking attendance and other purposes such as answering questions with text messaging, a very recent technology. Some are compatible with assessment and other programs such as Pearson’s Limelight assessment program, which works with both eInstruction and Promethean clickers.

The advantages of student response systems include increasing student involvement and allowing rapid and accurate assessment of understanding, knowledge, or interest. These systems can help teachers take advantage of lesson plans they already have and, in some cases, help them create new plans. In general, they create more opportunities for students to participate and can lead to a more stimulating learning environment that encourages student participation.

This roundup will provide a look at a representative sampling of student response systems. The information is intended to provide a basic overview for anyone interested in incorporating clickers into their teaching techniques and options.


Turning Technologies, LLC


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