Tag Archives: clickers


NearPod for Class/Workshop Polling

Last week, Amy Cavendar wrote about using Google Forms for polling. I agree with the general direction of moving away from “clickers” that need dedicated hardware and instead using software that allows students to use their own mobile devices (phones, tablets, laptops) to respond. However, I use polling often in my classes and workshops I give to faculty, and I prefer NearPod. It is by no means the only good tool with a free option (e.g. Socrative). I give a workshop on technology-enhanced lear…


Using Google Forms for In-class Polling

Drawing of a clickerRecently, I found myself involved in a conversation about clickers. The topic under discussion wasn’t their usefulness in the classroom, but the fact that there are a number of different types available, and as the manufacturers update their products, equipment that’s already in use may end up obsolete.

As I listened to the concerns being raised, I thought that, if I needed to do in-class polling (which I’ve not as yet had occasion to do), I’d probably just use Google Forms. The thought wouldn’t…


My Tech Stack for Public Talks

A young boy giving a public talk at a microphoneWhether you like it or not, public speaking is a big part of what we do in academe. There is of course the teaching that makes up a large part of many of our jobs. But then there are the more formal speaking requirements of the job: conference presentations, job talks, and — hopefully — invited keynotes. Whether you’re an introvert or not — and Bill Pannapacker is correct that academia is a place that perversely attracts and then screens out the introverts — you inevitably want to do your best. …


Live Polling of Your Students with Poll Everywhere

A Screenshot of a Poll Everywhere Slide

Poll Everywhere is an online service that allows you to poll an audience through text-messaging. The polling mechanism is quite simple (and therefore easy for audiences to use): every answer in your poll has a unique number, and audience members text that number to Poll Everywhere’s 6-digit short code. The real magic occurs next, as you and your audience watch the results roll in, live.

I’ve been saying “audience,” but what I really have in mind is “students.” You ask your students a question, …


Low-tech alternatives to clickers

Audience at Humanities TheatreHopefully you’ve heard by now, but clickers are a great tool to use in the classroom to facilitate student learning through peer instruction (PI). Much has been written about them, and if you are new to clickers and PI I encourage you to take a look at what others have said about them, especially the pedagogy they support. Two must-have starting resources are Eric Mazur’s Peer Instruction: A User’s Manual and Derek Bruff’s Teaching with Classroom Response Systems: Creating Active Learning Enviro…


Using Clickers to Facilitate Peer Review in a Writing Seminar


This is a guest post by Derek Bruff, assistant director at the Vanderbilt University Center for Teaching and senior lecturer in mathematics at Vanderbilt. You can follow Derek on Twitter (@derekbruff) and on his blog, where he writes about educational technology, student motivation, and visual thinking, among other topics.

I teach math courses, but for the first time this fall, I’m teaching a first-year writing seminar. It’s still a math course, since the topic is cryptography (codes and c…


Multiple Choice Questions on Exams

[This is a guest post by Derek Bruff, an assistant director of the Center for Teaching at Vanderbilt University, where he is also a senior lecturer in Mathematics.  His book, Teaching with Classroom Response Systems: Creating Active Learning Environments, about the technology known as clickers, was published in February, 2009 by Jossey-Bass.  On Twitter, he is @derekbruff. -- JBJ]

A couple of years ago, I was teaching a statistics course for the second time.  The first time I had taught th…