Instructional Design and eTeaching Services - Boston College

Skip to main body content

Main Header with IDeS logo, navigation and search tool

Why use i>Clickers

Font size

 A   A+

Instructors who have used i>clickers report multiple benefits, including:

Increased student engagement

When students know they will be called on to respond to questions at indeterminate times, they remain more engaged. Also, students become more involved because they feel a sense of ownership since their answers can affect the flow of the course presentation. The class shifts from an instructor-centric to a more student-centric class. Instructors using i>clickers report a decreased use of non-classroom-related activities during class, such as messaging to friends.

More widespread student involvement

Since answers are anonymous, i>clickers create a safe environment for unsure students. In many courses, the same students tend to dominate classroom discussions. The use of i>clickers increases the involvement of those students who typically remain quiet. When the quieter students see how their responses correlate to those of the rest of the class, they gain confidence in their own understanding, increasing their likelihood to participate in class discussions.

Increased class attendance

Instructors using i>clickers report highly increased attendance rates, reportedly due to two factors: 1) Instructors can use i>clicker responses as a component of a student’s grade; 2) Students find classes that incorporate i>clickers are more fun to attend.

Immediate feedback for instructor

Sometimes instructors don’t get accurate feedback about how well students understand course material until an exam. With i>clickers, you can learn immediately how well students understand the presented material. Depending on student response, you might alter their lecture, moderate the i>clicker pace, generate a discussion, or follow up with an appropriate assignment.

Immediate feedback for students

Students can see how well they understand the class material, and can compare their understanding to that of their classmates. They can use this knowledge to gain confidence and to understand what they need to work on. In a straight lecture environment, students may not always realize which concepts they have difficulty understanding until they do an assignment or study for an exam. With i>clickers, they can recognize problems earlier and ask questions in the classroom with the instructor available.

Higher-level student understanding of course material

Well-designed i>clicker questions call upon students to reflect upon, extend, and enhance their understanding of class material.

The following NPR article explores how teachers are using i>clickers in their classrooms to more accurately gauge what their students are absorbing: "In Search of Answers, Teachers Turn to i>clicker"