Alice Luby, Lecturer, School of Accounting and Finance
My rationale for using clickers with my accountancy students is to encourage students to be more active in the learning process. This facilitates those who learn by doing, the approach is also useful for visual learners. A useful outcome from using clickers is that I now have an immediate and much greater awareness of what concepts the students have grasped and what areas they are struggling with.
The use of the real time registration tool allows me to save the responses of students which I can scan and identify those not participating or those consistently getting wrong answers. Also, if students decide to mess by putting in silly answers I can see who is responsible! Understandably the students have some grumbles in this however I have assured them that I will never disclose to peers who gives wrong answers as they had like the anonymity association with clickers before I introduced the registration tool. The students have responded favourably to the ‘leader board’ slide where the top 6 are identified by name! Unfortunately this only seems to capture MCQ style questions and not numeric input, so I haven’t been able to continue with feature.
I have three different approaches to using the clickers with students.
1) I use them to gauge threshold competencies – see if students have the basic prerequisite knowledge before embarking on a topic
2) I now incorporate clickers questions when presenting new material and techniques to engage the student as ensure they are grasping the new material. It helps keep them away and show me if they understand what has just been presented.
3) A new approach that I have started to use is by using clickers in combination with a worksheet to establish if students can apply accounting knowledge to examination style questions.
The students (and myself) really enjoy using the clickers. The lectures I have presented using clickers have students fully engaged and active. In the past students would sit in the room, few would actively engage and many would appear to drift off after 10 to 15 minutes. If you gave them a question to attempt they would talk to each other and not really tackle the work. However, since the clickers were built into the lectures students appear to be engaged throughout the lecture. They listen because they know that are going to get ‘hit’ with a set of clicker questions after a couple of slides and they are apply what they have heard immediately. I was somewhat concerned when I introduced the clickers to tackling examination style questions because a single exam question could take up a whole one hour lecture. However, using the clickers provided a mechanism to break the question down into a step by step approach guiding the students through the complex question and getting immediate feedback. I find that it is essential to provide them with a structured worksheet template for tackling the question or they loose their focus as they move through the question. The worksheet template allows them to focus and make the most out of the clicker slides. Some of the students have indicated that for the first time they can figure out how to tackle a full exam question and their confidence is beginning to grow. Students have indicated that the clickers keep them awake and focused and that it makes accounting more interesting.
Random feedback from an on-line student survey on use of clickers
The clickers are very useful as you can see where you went wrong and when you are right
Its a good idea to use clickers questions in the lecture as we lean the topic then get asked questions on it to show whether we have understood the topic or not.
I really enjoy the clickers, they help you to focus on the lecture because you want to get the right answer.
There so useful and make the class more exciting….and help us understand the theory better!
Keep your attention throughout the class.
I love using the clickers it makes accounting fun and confirms your understanding of each topic and highlights areas of difficulty.
Keeps me alert, love the bit of competition it creates, and makes classes a bit of fun which is alway good.
Helps me personally stay alert in class, gives me a sense of how well I’m currently understanding the topic and makes the class a much more enjoyable experience – I FEEL LIKE I LEARN SOMETHING IN EVERY CLASS PRIMARILY DUE TO THE CLICKERS.