Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Why use Keepads?

This was on Derek Bruff''s blog the other day, and it got me thinking about why we use ARS/Clickers/Keepads/SRS/CRS.

I have been going back over my old educational psychology books to see if there was some research from the past that validates the use of ARS now. Obviously Derek has written the book on CRS in use now, but I'm talking about some of the past research on questioning.

My ed psych book from university was the Imaginatively titled "Educational Psychology" by Maltby, Gage and Berliner. I was able to glean a few key points that relate to the use of ARS now.

Why use an ARS in your teaching mix?
  • Improves “wait time” I and II (Rowe 1974) - pre set counters give the right amount of time for students to formulate an answer- showing responses on screen and talking about them give time to reflect.
  • Reduces unintentional Bias (Rowe 1974) - Everyone has the same amount of time to answer.
  • Gives “Question Notice” to all students (Brophy and Evertson 1994) - everyone is attentive to the question because everyone has to answer it.
  • Allows question probing through the branching - The presentation can branch to probing questions to get more detailed responses.
  • Encourages “Intelligent Guesses” (Cole & Chan 1994) - It reduces loss of face due to a wrong answer - great for students to want try out an answer without embarrassment.
  • Can provide academic feedback without identification (Good & Brophy)(Cole and Chan1994) - immediate feedback is important - but it doesn't identify the person with the wrong answer in front of peers.
  • Increases perceived preparation and structure but allows flexibility. Reduces digression but provides opportunities for branching and customisation.

Using an SRS/ARS/CPS is not a toy, but a way of truly changing the way we look at questioning our students about the stuff they know and don't know to help them gain deeper understanding of what we are teaching.

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