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If you happened to walk through Mantor hall in the past few weeks, you may have noticed something unusual... read more

Making it 'click': Classroom clickers keep students focused
Emily Wemhoff
Antelope Staff

Distractions in a classroom vary: A student typing on their laptop, someone texting during lecture or even the small clicking noise coming from the person next you who can’t seem to put their pen down. Sometimes it can be difficult to stay focused, and soon you are lost and confused in the discussion.

Dr. Doug Biggs, an assistant UNK history professor, has a device that seems to “click” with students and professors in the classroom.

“A lot of research has demonstrated that the traditional lecture format is one where it is often difficult for students to stay focused and thus to learn and retain information,” Biggs said. “Using clickers helps students stay on track in these lecture classes and lets them know if and where they are lost.”

Through this new technology, students can use small clickers to answer questions asked by their professors. It’s similar to the “ask the audience” lifeline on the popular game show, “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” The questions can be asked using a PowerPoint slide with a multiple choice question and possible answers. Once a certain amount of time is given, a bar graph will appear that reveals how many students answered A, B, C, etc. Students can answer questions and record their responses with a simple click of a button.

“We all know there are some students who do raise their hand and answer questions more frequently than others,” Biggs said. “Clickers are one good way to make sure everyone participates equally.”

Only a small percentage of professors on campus use clickers. Because the university sees potential for others, Biggs will present a seminar, “Using Clickers to Assess and Engage Student Learning” on Thursday, Feb. 18. The presentation will take place in the library’s main level computer lab beginning at 3 p.m.

Biggs will demonstrate how to use clickers in the classroom, give tips on designing effective clicker questions that promote more than rote memorization and reveal various strategies that he has used in the past when using clickers.

“People who are well versed in the use of clickers as well as those who are just considering using them are encouraged to attend,” Biggs said. “The most important part of the program will be the interaction between the audience members as they share their experiences.”

Reservations are encouraged. To RSVP, e-mail teachingcenter@unk.edu.

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