Smidge of Theory
Why use a student response system?
- Maintain students’ attention during a lecture. Studies show that most people’s attention lapses after 10 to 18 minutes of passive listening. Inserting a few SRS-facilitated activities every so often during a lecture can help maintain students’ attention.
- Promote active student engagement during a lecture. Posing well-chosen questions to students during lecture and expecting answers from each student can cause students to reflect on and assimilate course content during class.
- Promote discussion and collaboration among students during class with group exercises that require students to discuss and come to a consensus.
- Encourage participation from each and every student in a class. Asking a question verbally and calling on the first student to raise his or her hand results in one student participating. A SRS-facilitated activity can involve not one, but all of the students in the class.
- Create a safe space for shy and unsure students to participate in class. A SRS gives students a chance to respond to a teacher’s question silently and privately, enabling student who might not typically speak up in class to express their thoughts and opinions. A SRS also enables students to respond anonymously to sensitive ethical, legal, and moral questions.
- Check for student understanding during class. By asking SRS-facilitated questions, teachers can determine if students understand important points or distinctions raised in class. They need not wait until homework is turned in or exams are completed to do so. Instead they can receive feedback on a lecture during that same lecture.
- Teach in a way that adapts to the immediate learning needs of his or her students. If a histogram of student answers shows that a significant number of students chose wrong answers to a question, then the teacher can revisit or clarify the points he or she just made in class. If a histogram shows that most students chose the correct answers to a question, then the teacher can move on to another topic.
- Take attendance and to rapidly grade in-class quizzes, provided that each transmitter is assigned to a unique student over the length of a course. Note that different SRS systems provide different levels of support for anonymous and non-anonymous usage.
- Add a little drama to class. There is often a sense of expectation as they wait for the histogram to appear showing how their classmates answered a given question.
Bruff, Derek. "Center for Teaching." CFT RSS. Vanderbilt University, n.d. Web. 09 Feb. 2015.