What happens if you decline to click?

4 03 2009

Historiann seriously underestimates just how depressing this NPR report on clickers is (and she seems mighty depressed). From the text version:

Perhaps Psychology 372 isn’t really as dramatic as Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, but the students did seem engaged. In fact, McLennan polled his class — with the clickers, of course — and found that 96 percent of them really like using them. By constantly polling, McLennan gets an instant read on how much of the material the students are absorbing.

In my book, demonstrating absorption means you have to do a lot more than answer a multiple choice question. Since when does student enjoyment serve as a good criterion fort evaluating learning? I bet if I offered to give all of my students an “A,” 96 percent would approve.

And about that 96 percent: is that 96 percent of students or 96 percents of students who responded? In other words, is there an element of compulsion here? What happens if you decline to click? Do you get a zero for the day? Does clicking count for your grade? If it doesn’t, why would students feel compelled to do so and if it does, do you really want to test your students every minute of every day?

To me this feels like the same dynamic behind standardized testing run amuck.

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11 03 2010
Call me a Luddite, but… « More or Less Bunk

[...] that why we have Clickers? Seriously, is this a class or a focus group that we’re talking about here? c. For in-class [...]

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