Leveraging Interactive Clickers as a Tool for Formative Assessment

Leveraging Interactive Clickers as a Tool for Formative Assessment

Drew Polly (University of North Carolina at Charlotte, USA), Elizabeth Rodgers (Kannapolis City Schools, USA) and Melissa Little (Kannapolis City Schools, USA)
Copyright: © 2015 |Pages: 21
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-6497-5.ch016
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This chapter provides an overview of interactive remote clickers and how they can be used in an elementary school classroom as a tool for formative assessment in mathematics. The authors share the perspective of a university professor, two teachers, and an elementary school student about the benefits of these types of devices in mathematics classrooms. To this end, they present two vignettes from two fourth grade classrooms and findings from an exploratory study that examined the influence of clickers on teaching and learning in classrooms. Implications and recommendations for using these devices in elementary mathematics classrooms are also provided.
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The Start of Using Interactive Clickers

As new educational technologies make their way into classrooms, teachers are sometimes unsure or unaware of the potential that these new tools can have to support the processes of teaching and learning (Lawless & Pellegrino, 2007). One such device in recent years is the interactive clicker, hand-held devices that allow students to transmit an answer choice to a computer and receive immediate feedback. In this chapter, we describe how interactive an interactive clicker system and other associated technologies supported teaching and learning in fourth grade math classrooms. We describe our experiences and also provide suggestions for those looking at using similar technologies in their classrooms.

The partnership between Polly, a university faculty member, and Little and Rodgers, two elementary school teachers, began as part of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte’s Professional Development School partnership with local schools, including Shady Brook Elementary School. Through the years this partnership has involved professional development, co-teaching, research projects, and the hosting of university students for clinical and student teaching experiences (Polly & Little, 2012).

Kannapolis City Schools, where Rodgers and Little both teach, has used Mimio technologies since 2008. The primary uses have been Mimio’s interactive whiteboards and notebook software, which allows teachers to design activities that students can work on and manipulate on an interactive whiteboard using a stylus. During the 2010-2011 year, the school district purchased Mimio Votes, interactive clicker devices. After a few professional development workshops on how to use the clickers and set up interactive activities, we began to use them with students.

While the clickers could be used in every subject area, specifically in our math lessons we used them primarily to support formative assessment and to review concepts. During a unit, when we reached a point where we wanted to review concepts that students had been working on, we would use Mimio Votes to create multiple choice questions to pose to our students. Each time that students used the Mimio Votes devices, students used the same one, which allowed us to track their performance in each lesson and see students’ progress over time. The Mimio questions can be imported directly from PowerPoint or set up using Mimio’s presentation software, which looks just like PowerPoint.

Using Mimio Vote with Students

After pulling up the computer file with the questions in Mimio or PowerPoint, we distribute the clicker devices to students. Questions are shown to students through our projector one question at a time. When a question is posed during class, we are able to set a timer allowing students a set amount of time to respond to the question. Typically, we aim for 2 minutes per question, but adjust that sometimes if we notice that most of the class has answered faster or needs more time. The amount of time needed often is related to the difficulty level of the questions. When students solve the question, we require them to show their work in their math notebook or use a marker to write on a dry erase white board before we let them input their answer. Students select the correct multiple choice answer and submit their answer using the device.

After students respond to a question is where the power of the tool truly unfolds. While students submit answers, their responses are recorded by the Mimio system. After all students have answered, the teacher has a few options to show the correct answer as well as a graph displays displaying the number of students who selected each answer choice. Teachers also have the opportunity to display students’ names next to the answer choices or have students’ responses posted to the class as a class-wide description without publically displaying students’ answers and performance. Below we describe a few vignettes from our classrooms involving students’ use of the Mimio Vote clickers. Our purpose is to provide you with insight into the varied ways that we use the data and information provided by the devices and how that information leverages future tasks that we pose.

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