Over the years, teachers and professors alike are coming up with new, innovative ways for students to learn and retain information. One of the more recent additions to these gadgets is the iClicker, an electronic response device used in different schools across Ontario. Now, we must ask ourselves a simple question: Is the iClicker actually effective? Through my experience with this gadget, from pondering whether or not to take it out in class, punching in the classroom code, and trying my luck on the day’s set of problems, in no way did it appeal to me.
Many problems encompass the idea of our handheld answering device. First of all, we have the question of ethics. When the classroom is half empty, and there is an iClicker answer count of 150, there is obviously a problem. From what I had seen in class, there seems to have been many cases where students were able to answer questions for their friends by simply bringing a bunch of iClickers to class. Due to this, many of the students do not actually receive any knowledge from such a tool. Secondly, we are able to choose whether or not we would like our iClicker grades to be part of our final mark. The iClicker marks themselves are not mandatory, and its weight is shifted towards other assignments/exams during the term. This automatically instills a sense of safety, (and who the heck wants to read a chapter ahead anyways?). Many students do not bother to use the iClicker simply because they are confident that their exam marks would be higher than playing around with the learning tool. Lastly, we have the issue of the iClicker’s cost. The idea that we are spending quite a bit of money on a tool that isn’t helping us learn or providing us with many marks is very unatt
ractive. Although some students have the iClicker, few find it effective for their learning.
I can definitely say that the iClicker is not a “must have” tool for teachers to be using. It leans towards a tool for students to gain in a few percent for their grade. Who knows? Maybe by the time I graduate, they will have invented something entirely foolproof, but only time will tell.