eClicker is an iPad app that replaces other Student Response Systems (SRS). Unlike other SRS, eClicker is developed for smartphones and tablets, taking advantage of technology that many students already possess, which avoids the large investment in SRS hardware (clickers, etc.). As schools move toward 1:1 or BYOD deployment, eClicker provides teachers with an inexpensive alternative to create more interactive classrooms. The app allows educators to conduct formative assessments (also called Assessment for Learning) with students in their classrooms. The app, powered by Big Nerd Ranch, LLC (http://www.bignerdranch.com/index), allows the teacher to create questions on a computer or iPad in three formats (multiple choice, true/false, agree/disagree). The app collects individual responses from students and summarizes class results.
There are two components to the eClicker app: the Presenter app and the Audience app.
SRS and Educational Uses
The key advantage of SRS is that it provides a 'dual form of feedback' (Chui, L., et al, 27). Firstly, SRS provide educators with an easy way to receive feedback on how well students understand the course material. The feedback provided by an SRS allows an instructor to decide whether to make changes to course content and structure (either to reinforce or review topics or to move on to the next topic). Secondly, as students receive the results of their responses and of the class on their devices, they are able to reflect on their level of understanding and identify areas which require review or further assistance. SRS are often used by educators to gage the understanding of content throughout the course of study and for attendance records.
Motivation for the Use of SRS
According to Jane E. Caldwell, some of the key motivations for using SRS in a classroom setting include:
- increased participation by students in a classroom setting
- anonymous voting
- accurate tallies and displays
- permanent and individualized student records of results
- useful in sustaining attention
- reinforce important concepts
- ideal for debriefing
SRS and Formative Assessment
A powerful application of SRS is the student's ability to address misunderstandings in content as the learning occurs. This implies that instead of simply using the results of a SRS to record student achievement, teachers can use the results to modify the direction of the class instruction (Caldwell, 12).
Although more research remains to be done regarding the reasons why SRS are effective, they have been shown to have a positive impact on student participation and enjoyment of class. Most studies around the use of SRS in university and college level courses have found either a neutral or positive effect when looking at final grades. When combined with other forms of cooperative learning, results have been shown to be more positive (Fies and Marshall, 106).
Several models of SRS implementation have been studied in an attempt to determine the educational benefit of this technology. These models include: 1) individual responses followed by small group discussions; 2) group discussion followed by individual responses; and 3) traditional lectures followed by individual responses (Fies and Marshall, 105). A review of SRS literature points to an overwhelming use of SRS on an individual basis - where each student individually responds to a series of questions. A sample of student attitude toward SRS showed an impressive 'enjoyment' in the use of the technology (approximately 88% of students in Biology 101 at West Virginia University - Caldwell, 2007), where anonymity, reinforcement of learning and collaboration were given as positive features of the technology.
How eClicker Works
The eClicker Presenter app is available in two platforms: Presenter iOS for iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad (available on the App Store, $14.99 CDN) and Presenter MAC for iMac, MacBook Pro and MacBook Air (available on the App Store, $19.99 CDN). The apps are designed to allow a teacher to create and deliver questions in various formats to assess student understanding of content.
- Create and categorize a variety of question types - multiple choice, true/false, and agree/disagree
- Draw or use existing photos to augment questions
- Questions get delivered directly to the audiences' devices
- Two delivery methods: teacher paced or student paced
- Collaboration with other educators using eClicker
- Instant reports on each session, and exporting of results for tracking over time
- iCloud sync of data across multiple devices
- Up to 128 participants using eClicker Presenter for Mac, 64 participants with eClicker Presenter on iPad, and 32 participants with eClicker Presenter on iPhone or iPad Touch (eclicker.com).
eClicker Audience is the companion app to eClicker Presenter and is available on iOS enabled devices (iPad, iPhone, iPad Touch) or through a web browser on any internet-enabled smartphone, tablet or laptop. Users are able to see and answer questions created by their teacher in the eClicker Presenter app, and results are made available instantaneously. The app is free in the App Store.
- Questions are delivered directly to the device
- Results are displayed immediately after a quiz
- Audience members not using an iOS device can access questions through a web browser on their internet-enabled device (from eclicker.com)
Caldwell, J. E. (2007). Clickers in the large classroom: Current research and best-practice tips. CBE – Life Sciences Education, 6, 9-20.
Chui, L., Martin, K., and Pike, B. (2013). A quasi-experimental assessment of interactive student response systems on student confidence, effort, and course performance. J. of Acc. Ed., Volume 31, Issue 1, March 2013, 17-30.
Fies, C. and Marshall J. (2006). Classroom Response Systems: A Review of Literature. Journal of Science Education and Technology, Vol. 15, No. 1, March 2006.
Hu, Y. and Huang, R. (2013). The effects of iPad-based Classroom response System in secondary school. IEEE 13th International Conference on Advanced Learning Technologies (ICALT), 2013.
Jonassen, D. (1999). Chapter 10: Designing constructivist learning environment. In C. Reigeluth (Ed.), Instructional design theories and models: Volume II (pp. 215-239). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
Osterman, A. (2008). Student Response Systems: Keeping the Students Engaged. College & Undergraduate Libraries, 14:4, 49-57.
- eClicker Logo. Retrieved March 8, 2014 from, website iTunes.apple.com
- eClicker Presenter for Mac. Retrieved March 8, 2014 from, website iTunes.apple.com
- eClicker Presenter for iPad. Retrieved March 8, 2014 from, website iTunes.apple.com
- eClicker Audience for iPhone. Retrieved March 8, 2014 from, iTunes.apple.com