Question Driven Instruction: Teaching Science (Well) with an Audience Response System

Question Driven Instruction: Teaching Science (Well) with an Audience Response System

Ian D. Beatty (University of Massachusetts, USA), William J. Leonard (University of Massachusetts, USA), William J. Gerace (University of Massachusetts, USA) and Robert J. Dufresne (University of Massachusetts, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-947-2.ch007
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Audience response systems (ARS) are a tool, not a magic bullet. How they are used, and how well they are integrated into a coherent pedagogical approach, determines how effective they are. Question Driven Instruction (QDI) is a radical approach in which an ARS-mediated “question cycle” organizes classroom instruction, replacing the “transmit and test” paradigm with an iterative process of question posing, deliberation, commitment to an answer, and discussion. It is an implementation of “real-time formative assessment.” In QDI, an ARS is used to facilitate and direct discussion, to engage students in active knowledge-building, and to support “agile teaching” by providing the instructor with constant feedback about students’ evolving understanding and difficulties. Class time is used primarily for interactively developing understanding, rather than for presenting content: in QDI, an instructor is more an engineer of learning experiences than a dispenser of knowledge. This requires new teaching skills, such as moderating discussion and managing the classroom dynamic, interpreting students’ statements and modeling their learning, making real-time teaching decisions, and designing ARS questions that teach rather than test and that target process as well as content. Above all, it requires understanding and communicating that ARS use is diagnostic and instructional, rather than evaluative.

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