“Clickers” also known as “voting devices” allow students to respond to test questions, quizzes or polls using web based technology that is increasingly free to access. The technology has been used widely on television game shows to allow audience participation. But what impact will clickers have on classroom participation? Are students engaging with educational content or are they engaged with a new tech tool?
For the many rural communities in developing countries, a reliable internet connection becomes the first barrier to clicking. The next challenge is developing the skills to use the technology well. A simple ‘agree’ or ‘disagree’ vote will not necessarily generate learning, but once asked to defend their positions, students can become more engaged in the learning process.
A third issue, apart from getting the new technology to work and understanding how to use it, involves establishing where it is needed. Many schools are yet to engage with mobile phones as tools for supporting education. So, as new devices enter the technology arena, are schools participating in an options appraisal process or are they being pushed to adopt rather than to adapt?
“Clickers,” like all new tools, have the potential to bring the learning process to life. This article serves as a reminder that considering context before clicking is critical.