Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

The Clicker!

It’s the latest innovation in classroom technology. Students can give their immediate, anonymous imput, and some studies are showing better attendance and attention as a result. Some classes at my college require students--at significant expense--to purchase their own clickers. I might prefer some device that simulates the sound of the Beatnik snapping his fingers, which would be used by students every time his or her learning style resonates with my teaching style.

Discussions - 7 Comments

You can get the same involvement with paper folded in half, with each quarter featuring a large A, B, C, or D. Usually you can get a rough percentage that way, and it's much less expensive.

The Berry Bobo, with his $35 tie-dye t-shirt, Ralph Lauren chinos, trendy rope sandals, philistine man-bag, and trust fund, would pride himself on continually improving his finger-snapping technique, all the while striving to be the best snapper in his class. Later that day, during a nail-biting game of disc golf, he might explain to his friends, using mostly transitional phrases and adjectives, how the Beatnik response mechanism contributes to the "holism" or "interwovenness" of his liberal arts education. Of course, he would be extremely careful not to defend the Beatnik practice too strongly in fear of making himself seem prejudicial against other response methods. :D

When I was a student, I would have preferred to have a clicker with a fast-forward or a "skip" button on it. Rewind would have been nice too . . . but not in every class. And just imagine the suspended animation possibilities of "pause"!

There are all the makings of a great comic novel in AFS's response above.

I think I know the guy AFS is writing about, but he doesn't teach at Berry, he teaches at my college.

Mabye you could allow each student to ask the audience on one particular question on a test, and since we are putting who wants to be a millionaire in why not go all the way and allow them to phone a friend. They all have the cell phones already and you could give them 30 seconds to phone someone to at least test their room mate's speed using wikipedia. In reality though, it might be doing some good to at least show that most are not getting something. I guess the colleges have their eyes on the bookstore profit markups on these devices and not the fact that something measuring understanding does not directly put more tuition dollars in their coffers.

Last semester the advantages of the clicker were much celebrated among my cohort of fellow political science graduate students. Few dissenting voices were heard, and mostly they appeared sulky. This semester it seems that reports of the clicker's success and ease of use have been greatly exaggerated, and the clicker collects dust. Despite the apparent vindication of the dissenting, it seems that we ought to anticipate further technological advances to improve the clicker's quality and, in fact, the only way to improve the quality is if we use it so as to expose the system's bugs. In sum, the new argument in favor of the clicker is that we ought to continue to require the purchase of a faulty technology device with the aim of exposing its flaws for the sake of future generations who will benefit from the clicker's wonders.

Good to hear from THE DEIST, who is right to say that, over the long term, perfected clickers will surely prevail

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