More professors are handing out hand-held devices at the start of lectures, in a effort to foster class participation. The small, wireless “clickers” are reminiscent of a remote control, but only feature a few buttons. Professors can get immediate feedback, and see who’s paying attention, by asking students to respond to a question with the device.
More than half a million are using clickers this fall, reports The New York Times. Some professors ask students to use the clickers to see if they understand a concept. The clickers also make it harder for students to snooze or get distracted, when they know that a failure to participate will be registered.
Many students resent the devices, it makes them feel overly monitored. “I actually kind of like it,” said Jasmine Morris, a senior at Northwestern. “It does make you read. It makes you pay attention. It reinforces what you’re supposed to be doing as a student.” Harvard, Vanderbilt, and the University of Arizona are among the many other colleges capitalizing on this technology.
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