Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

Closing the Missing Links and Opening the Relationships among the Factors: A Literature Review on the Use of Clicker Technology Using the 3P Model

Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

Closing the Missing Links and Opening the Relationships among the Factors: A Literature Review on the Use of Clicker Technology Using the 3P Model

Article excerpt

Introduction

Research into teaching and learning in higher education consistently seeks answers to the following two questions: What is the best delivery method for enhancing student learning outcomes? How does a specific instructional strategy make student learning effective and efficient in a large classroom setting? (e.g., Biggs, 2003; McKeachie, 1990). These questions have led scholars to seek the best-fitting factors and identify interrelationships among the factors that enhance the quality of student learning. One possible workaround to resolve these issues is to create a "student-centered learning environment," often described as a classroom setting in which students actively engage and interact within the classroom and with various instructional activities. Ultimately, a range of factors can be identified that have the potential to concurrently enhance the quality of various student learning outcomes.

The Classroom Communication System (CCS; hereafter referred to as "clickers") is one of the most widely adopted interactive technologies used in classroom instruction worldwide (White, Syncox, & Alters, 2011). Clicker systems comprise two main components: the response device and the receiver system. Instructors introduce questions in various formats (multiple choice or right/wrong answers) to the students via the classroom projector, and they respond to the questions using the response device (e.g., smartphone or number keypad). All the student responses are collected in the instructor's receiver system embedded in the computer; instructors can also immediately post (project) the student response results back to the class in a few different visual formats. Thus, the use of clickers can provide immediate feedback even to a large number of students and reduce the time spent on the feedback cycle between instructors and students (Liu, Chung, Chen, & Liu, 2009).

Studies (e.g., Caldwell, 2007) suggest that the potential benefits of clicker technology, including immediate feedback and assessment, may help to build student-centered classroom environments. More specifically, the use of clickers with appropriate pedagogical approaches may have the following positive impacts on teaching and learning in higher education: improved student involvement/engagement, clearer perceptions of learning/knowledge gains, and stronger affective learning outcomes (e.g., student attitudes). However, 2001 Physics Nobel prize recipient Carl Wieman suggests that the use of clicker technology can have deep and positive impacts on students only when the following specifications are met throughout: "...change in the classroom dynamic, the questions posed, and how they are followed up.and guided by an understanding of how people learn" (Wieman & Perkins, 2005, p. 39).

The specifications (or prerequisites) for improving student learning with clicker technology have been well documented in several literature reviews. For instance, Kay and LeSage (2009) reviewed 67 peer-reviewed journal articles and identify the following benefits and challenges of the use of clickers: assessment, classroom, learning benefits and technology-, teacher-, and student-based challenges. Since the most recently published literature review (Kay & LeSage, 2009) was done in 2009, it is important to review the clicker studies published after 2009 for the following reasons. First, in these studies, a wide range of new factors have been considered, including different groups of participants (e.g., multiple course levels; Dunn, Richardson, McDonald, & Oprescu, 2012), various types of interventions (e.g., different levels of clicker use; Elicker & McConnell, 2011), and instructional settings (e.g., different institutions; Lundeberg et al., 2011). These factors, however, have not been taken into account in any clicker literature reviews to date. Second, the most recently published literature review on this topic (Kay & LeSage, 2009) was conducted in 2009, and is, therefore, somewhat out of date. …

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