Clickers that let students answer questions in class are proving popular in K-12 classrooms. Is it a gimmick? The Boston Globe visited an eighth-grade class in Lexington, Mass. where students clicked their answers to a question asking if President Polk was justified in asking Congress to declare war on Mexico.
Eight students tapped A: “Yes, it was time for war. Congress was justified.” Seven picked B: “No, it was an excuse to push America into war for more land.” And, four chose C: “Wait! I don’t get this yet.”In an instant, the teacher, Edward Davey, discovered that he needed to teach more on the topic, the students received a snapshot of one another’s views, and a lively debate ensued about the 19th century conflict.
. . . But although teachers and students rave about the excitement the clickers bring to the classroom, some educators and researchers say schools should proceed with caution. They warn that the remotes, which send students’ answers to a teacher’s computer via radio frequency or infrared signals, risk becoming gimmicks if used for simplistic quizzes and games.
Teachers say it takes time to develop the right questions to work with clickers, though some rely on readymade questions that come with the clickers.
A set of 32 clickers costs $895 to $3,000. I’ll bet that cost could come down.
Core Knowledge wants to see lessons on YouTube. There’s got to be some teachers out there with great ways to teach fractions. Why not share the smarts?