Home' Campus Technology : March 2013 Contents COLLABORATION
CAMPUS TECHNOLOGY | March 2013
use, or believe that it actually impedes their teaching.
For faculty who are comfortable with technology, collab-
orative-learning opportunities and approaches are innumer-
able. For others, though, simplicity is key. Here, CT looks at
two categories of interactive devices---clickers and interac-
tive displays---that can be utilized in class with little difficulty
to forge more collaborative learning environments.
Classroom-response systems---aka clickers---are the de-
vices that have drawn by far the most interest on campus
as a way to foster collaboration. Derek Bruff, director of the
Center for Teaching and a senior lecturer in the mathemat-
ics department at Vanderbilt University (TN), has done
extensive research on teaching with clickers. The author of
Teaching With Classroom Response Systems: Creating
Active Learning Environments, Bruff uses clickers for both
peer instruction and peer assessment.
With peer instruction, for example, he first poses a mul-
tiple-choice question to which his students respond indi-
vidually. Bruff is able to review the spread of answers on
a bar graph, but he doesn't share the results initially. He
then asks students to pair up, discuss their answers, and
vote again. Without revealing the correct answer, he asks
them to talk about their answers.
"In a science class of 100, students are hesitant to ask a
question." he explains. "This whole-class discussion gets
them to talk about their ideas. If they think about it, work
with a partner, and commit to an answer, they are more
likely to volunteer why they think the correct answer is 'A.'"
Bruff has also experimented with clickers for peer as-
sessment. While teaching a writing seminar for first-year
students, he had them read one volunteer student's draft
and assess it against a 12-category rubric that he created.
"I got them to use clickers to rate the draft, and then got
the class to discuss the reasons for their ratings," he says.
Students are often reluctant to critique each other's
work, he adds, but clickers make it easier because the first
phase is anonymous. In some categories of the rubric, stu-
dents gave widely divergent assessments, prompting them
to ask Bruff to clarify his expectations for the course. "We
took 50 minutes on that one student's essay," he recalls,
"but I think all the students benefited from the exercise."
Bruff admits that persuading humanities faculty to use
TECH TOOLS FOR
SUE GLASCOE, a math instructor at Mesa Community Col-
lege in Arizona, has changed how she teaches. You could say
she's flipped out. Instead of lecturing her students from the
front of the room, she now has her students work indepen-
dently in groups of three or four. Making the switch to a flipped-
classroom model is much easier said than done, though. It
takes a lot of preparation and work, but Glascoe has discov-
ered a variety of tech tools that make the new teaching model
far easier and more productive.
During class time, for example, her students use an assort-
ment of Livescribe smartpens, and eInstruction's Mobi (a mobile
IWB) and CPS Pulse clickers to work on problems. Last semes-
ter, Glascoe added iPads and Apple TV to the mix, and set up
a private YouTube channel. During a typical problem-solving
assignment, student groups use an app called Doceri 2.0 to
make videos of the work they are doing with their smartpens.
"When I call on a group, they send the video of how they
solved the problem to the Apple TV at the front of the class for
the rest of the students to watch," she explains. In addition,
Glascoe poses questions for students to answer via their click-
ers. She can access the response data from anywhere in the
room, helping her to tailor her instruction on the fly. "Students
today are so different," Glascoe says. "Information is so acces-
sible to them. They don't want to be lectured."
Clickers become much more
useful when questions are
designed to improve both student-
to-student interaction and
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