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Shahrukh Azim Butt, Amar Preet, Anthony Lazar

Professor Bulent Dogan

CUIN 3313

August 5, 2019

Clickers – A 21st Century Advancement

In the everlasting innovation and evergreen of technological advances have we, the

populace of the 21st century, bound ourselves to go beyond the vast expectations of all centuries

before us. Molding ideas into creations and introducing machinery and such technological

aspects into our daily lives has changed the vicissitudes of an average joe [for the better that is].

The major contributions and advances have already been made, but it is the idea that certain

modulates can still be more efficient, optimized, and improved have strived this global nation to

elevate the boundaries by which we [the people] are no longer held. Yet in this wide variety,

spanning from daily use to the corporate world, has technology made its way quite effectively

into the educational standards. Let us discuss, by this aspect and appreciation, the creation and

use of ‘clickers’ in classrooms – a University setting.

Clickers, also known as Classroom Response Systems (CRS) (Bruff) are of quite

common and obvious sense to the common man. It is just a remote, looking like that of a pocket-

sized calculator, with numbers, alphabets, and a few functions to synchronize with in conjunction

to the presentation. Inside the small casing, it contains a software that is also installed on the

computer and serves to collect processes and data from the receiver. The presenter, thereafter,

can present information, perhaps a histogram along with answers to its audience [students].

Those that are tuned into the set frequency will be able to, by pointing at the presenter

screen/receiver, have their answer [the byproduct of which button they press] recorded into the
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system (Northern Illinois University). A key aspect in this type of set up is that all submissions

are kept anonymous, as to aid those feeling shy or having a distasteful mood for getting the

answer wrong. The results are only able to showcase an individual’s response pad number, which

can be detected by the teacher, so that that may identify the individual and act accordingly as

they may deem worthy. The gist of a clicker serves as an audience response system. The

questionnaire setup may be laid out in the form of multiple choice, true/false, yes/no, or numeric


In the realms of training opportunities, clickers have a benefit when teaching future

employees, in whichever corporate ladder they may wish to climb. Taking Human Resources

(HR) as an example in this case, individuals as a collective whole can be tested on how to reply

to customers in the case of extenuating circumstances, or during day to day scenarios. It is

understood that training can get boring and tends to be forgotten. In accordance to

showdme.info, individuals during their “first week will forget 70% of what they learned […]” in

training and by “one month […] will have forgotten 87%”. The time and effort invested into

those training sessions are wasted. By using clickers, it can provide a basic structure by which to

reinforce information retention and focus during the entirety of the lecture. Humans by nature

cannot maintain laser sharp focus on tasks that do not pertain to them, especially if they are in it

for the long run. A hands-on interaction allows for slight interactions and allows the brain to take

a break from the hypnotic speech delivered by a probable monotone speaker via the endless pool

of words and instructional prospects to operate like a machine for a chance to actually be

engaged in the required material. It really all comes together in a rather inquisitive approach.

Give a toddler a book with shapes that can be taken apart, and they can learn to associate it’s

worth and value with what is being taught, rather than just having to visualize and imagine
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incorporating it sometime in the future. Adults are the same. Give them a device to reinforce and

get comfortable, gain worth and value for a selected answer from the options proposed, and they

will either feel good by getting it right, or take a step back, re-evaluate and judge why they may

have missed the correct answer for next time. To simply put, a Scholastic article states, these

clickers “are popular with students, who love the game-like experience”.

There is never just a correct approach of learning something. Everyone has their own way

of learning. Carnegie Mellon University suggests that not even technology can change this law,

but it can aid and enhance learning opportunities. By mixing and incorporating its usage in

conjunction with learning objectives, instructors/teachers can encourage participation and

engagement to evoke a deeper thinking, or a rather critical approach when pondering over a

certain question. Also, clickers allow for a tangible monitoring of student understanding by

tracking progress of correct:wrong ratio. Are majority of students understanding the material or

just nodding heads to get over with the class/afraid to do so? These are all questions a professor

may gather without having to actually ask the students. This allows instructors to pace and adjust

the course and quality control it before it causes havoc. In addition, clickers allow for instant

feedback on student answers and encourages discussion there and then with the instructor to

engage a meaningful conversation that can carry over to examinations. Having the issue

identified and rectified there and then can save a plethora of time – and money in some instances.

Furthermore, instructors may opt to hold in class quizzes or assessments on course material,

holding students accountable to show up to the class that may be beneficial in their favor.

One must understand that though technological innovations like clickers in this instance

can benefit greatly in learning, every potential advancement does impose trade-offs. In this case,

a certain trade-off might be the amount of time it takes to learn using this technology, or how
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much time it takes away from class time to fully utilize this setup. Creating deep critical

questions may be more of a challenge to construct, this is just a few facets in the many trade-offs.

All in all, clickers have greatly improved the focus and understanding factor, shortening

the distance between an individual and instructor’s interaction parameter. Through its use,

individuals can be trained, taught in classrooms, evoke more engagement thus yielding more

participation, interaction, and carry over the effect of prolonged retained information.

Pinpointing problems at their root at the right moment, along with adjusting pace and

reconstructing ideas and material to better help the audience ‘get’ the information. Though this is

just a start, it will take time; but it is a piece of equipment that if used effectively, can prolong the

information retention realms and make for better and more successful students in their future

endeavors, and ultimately, a brighter generation.

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Works Cited

Derringer, Pamela. "Learning By Clicker | Scholastic.Com". Scholastic.Com,


Bruff, Derek. "Classroom Response Systems (“Clickers”)". Vanderbilt University,


What Are Clickers And How Can We Effectively Use Them?. Carnegie Mellon, pp. 1-2,

https://www.cmu.edu/teaching/clickers/pdfs/clickers-pedagogicalvalue.pdf. Accessed 5

Aug 2019.

"What Are Clickers?". Northern Illinois University, 2019,


Why Social Learning Produces The Best ROI By Far [INFOGRAPHIC]". Showd.Me, 2015,