Teaching with an Audio Response System
Audio Response Systems can be quite a powerful tool to use in your classroom to engage students in different ways, like assessing higher-order thinking skills or engage them in meaningful conversation.
Description of the Question types
Students need to recall facts, concepts, or techniques that are relevant to lecture. These questions are often used to determine whether students prepared for class, remember key concepts from previous lectures, or have memorised key facts. They rarely generate discussion, and do not require higher-order thinking skills.
Conceptual Understanding Questions
This question type go beyond recall and assess a student's understanding of important concepts. The answer options are often based on student misconceptions and this helps the lecturer to identify whether students understand the concepts. This question type ask students to:
- Match characteristics
- To classify examples
- To select the best explanation for the concept
These questions require a student to apply what they know or understand about the specific concept. These questions often require students to:
- make a decision or choice in a given scenario
- to connect course content to “ a real-world" problem
- implement procedures or techniques,
- predict the outcome of experiments
Critical Thinking Questions
These questions operate at the higher levels of Bloom's Taxonomy, requiring students to analyze relationships among multiple concepts or make evaluations based on particular criteria. Often these questions are “one-best-answer questions," questions that include multiple answer choices that have merit. Students are asked to select the one best answer from these choices. One-best-answer questions aren't appropriate for exams, since the reasons students provide for or against answer choices are of more interest than their particular answer selections. However, these questions can be very effective in preparing students to engage in class discussions about their reasons.
Student Perspective Questions
These are questions that ask students to share their opinions, experiences, or demographic information. These questions do not have correct answers, but by surfacing the various perspectives of students in a class, they can help both instructors and students better understand those perspectives. They can often generate rich discussion, particularly questions about ethical, legal, or moral issues. They can also help students connect their personal experiences to more abstract course content. The anonymity that clickers provide is often an essential ingredient in asking these kinds of questions.
Confidence Level Questions
Asking students a content question, then following that by asking students to rate their confidence in their answers (high, medium, or low) can enhance the usefulness of information on student learning provided by the first question. Prompting students to assess their confidence can also aid in metacognition–learning about one's own learning. Instructors can also ask “predictive" confidence level questions by asking students how confident they are that they could correctly answer some question or accomplish some task in which they have not yet engaged.
These are questions designed to provide instructors with information about how their students are approaching the learning process in their courses. For instance, one week before a paper assignment is due, instructors might ask students whether or not they have completed rough drafts as a way to gauge their progress. Asking students how long they took to complete an assignment they have just turned in can provide instructors with useful information about the difficulty of the assignment. Clicker questions can also be used to see if students remember good advice or course policies shared on a first-day-of-class course syllabus. The questions that appear on end-of-semester course evaluations also make useful monitoring questions at the midpoint of the semester.
Classroom response systems can also be used to collect data from students for classroom experiments often used in the social sciences. Often data generated by students during class can be used to make points about social behavior. By allowing these data to be collected and analyzed during class, clickers can bring a sense of immediacy and relevance to these kinds of experiments.
Possible Activities with Audio Response Systems
Using ARS can be used in a number of different ways to enhance your teaching. However you should ensure that the specific activity you chose matches the course content, time constraints and learning objectives. Below you can find some possible ways in which you can use ARS. These activities are listed in order of increasing levels of student engagement.
If you want to know more please contact the Unit for Learning Technologies.