Classroom clickers. For years, we have had them in our classrooms. It seems that they were all the rage in classrooms. Tech conferences were filled with presenters and vendors showing off clickers. We recently presented at the Alabama Educational Technology Conference. Looking back on the experience
we noted that there was a distinct lack of clicker presentations. It led me to question why they seem to have fallen out of favor.
After a bit of thinking and analyzing, I don’t think they have fallen out of favor at all. The classroom has changed for those who love EdTech. We teach Jr. High English/Language Arts. We are 100% paperless, if you don’t count the HUGE library of books for student checkout in our rooms. We have 1:1 Chromebooks. We have a workable BYOD policy. And we also have a set of the clickers pictured above.
We got our first set of clickers probably 12 years ago, at TCEA. I actually sat through Dr. Ward’s (founder of eInstruction) presentation so many times trying to win a set of them, he gave me a set. Then, later that evening, we saw him at a restaurant eating dinner. We bought his dessert, when he looked over, he spotted us with our eInstruction caps on, and he gave my wife a set as well.
Those sets were like those above, the old IR models. Point and pray we liked to say. They worked, we used them non stop. Those were our first taste of trying to be as paperless as we could be.
Over time, we have upgraded, and I firmly believe that clickers still have a place in the classroom today. Many people say that with BYOD you don’t need them… but not every kid has a smartphone, especially in lower grades. Clickers provide a very cost effective way to get EdTech engagement out of kids. You can pick up a set brand new I would imagine for under $1000. Think about it. You couldn’t touch going 1:1 for that price.
For the school struggling to get EdTech into the budget, this could be a way to get started. Do we use them as often as we used to? No, admittedly we don’t. We have other tools at our disposal that we use as well. But every now and then, the clickers still come out.
The fact that a certain piece of EdTech hardware is no longer the newest thing around does not make it obsolete. Clickers are a tried and true way to get engagement out of kids. They are generally very durable. They are cost effective. Some of them can even do short answers (though some models excel more than others here).
Do a little looking around, if you are seeking a way to integrate some lower cost EdTech, give clickers a close look. If you would like to know more about the specific clickers we have and use, drop me a note. I would be happy to help you out.