The Pros and Cons of Using Cell Phones as Clickers Debora Herold Dina David Martin Vaughan Michael Yard Lilly Conference on College Teaching November 16, 2012 Clickers in the Classroom • Students report • Clickers improve their understanding of material • Lectures are more enjoyable and entertaining (Masikunis et al., 2009; Shaffer & Collura, 2009) • Faculty report • Incorporating clickers makes their lectures more interactive • Using clickers improves their teaching style (Masikunis et. al, 2009) • Findings are mixed as to whether using clickers improves learning. • Clickers improve performance (Morling, et al., 2008; Shaffer & Collura, 2009; Shapiro, 2009) • There is either no difference or even reduced performance when clickers are employed (Butler et al., 2010). Clickers in the Classroom • Price • Clickers can be expensive ($16-40) • Faculty may hesitate to require them • May want to use them only sporadically • Cell phones as clickers • www.PollEverywhere.com • Gather live responses in the classroom using text, twitter, or web browser Previous Research • Cell phones in the classroom • 98.1% of students bring a cell phone to class • 84.4% send text messages during class • 81.9% of faculty are distracted by student cell use • 60.7% of students are distracted by own cell use • 59.8% of students are distracted by other’s cell use • 28.1% of students believe their cell use is distracting to others How it works Procedure • Students enrolled in 5 gateway classes were asked to use their cell phones as a personal response system (PRS) to answer short question given to them during their classroom meetings. • Questions were presented on PowerPoint slides and responses collected by Poll Everywhere, a web-based program that collects texts, in real time, from the students’ cell phones. Procedure • The procedure was repeated at three separate class meetings. • A survey was administered at the end of the third cell phone session. • Participation was completely voluntary. No compensation was offered. • This study was approved by the Indiana University IRB (study #1112007563). Participants • 543 students (mean age: 21.5) enrolled in four different introductory courses (Psychology, Anatomy, Biology, and Communications) • 96% had cell phones with them • 90% choose to use them Student Perception Percentage of students marking agree or strongly agree for the following statements Statement Percentage I enjoyed using cell phones in class. 83% Using cell phones in class increased my interest in the material being presented. 71% Using cell phones in class increased my motivation to participate in class. 71% Using cell phones in class helped my understanding of the material presented. 67% Using cell phones would make me more likely to attend class regularly. 40% Using cell phones in class takes too long. 26% Using cell phones in class is a waste of time. 19% Using my cell phone in class distracted me from the material being 22% presented. Distractions Percentage of students answering “yes” to the following statements Statement Percentage Did you encounter any problems or technological issues when using your cell phone? 24% Did you check the time? 76% Did you check your email? 13% Did you respond to an email? 4% Did you check a text message? 65% Did you respond to a text message? 51% Did you start another app? 16% Did you surf the web? 13% Distractions Texts and Emails sent 0 emails 0 texts 96.3 52% 1-3 texts 4-35 texts 39% 9% Time spent on noncourse related activities None 1-5 minutes 7-30 minutes > 30 minutes 24% 53% 21% 2% What do you think? • Where does this leave you? • Does this make you more or less interested in using clickers/cell phones in the classroom? • How have you dealt with technology as a distraction? Summary and Conclusions • Whether we like to admit it or not, the use of cell phones and other technology in the college classroom is common, and is not going away! • The challenge for instructors is to make the technology work to help improve the classroom environment, rather than allow it to be an obstacle to active learning, or to be a distraction. • Students expect instructors to be technologically astute, and to foster an interactive learning environment. Summary and Conclusions • Using cell phones as clickers is one way to incorporate technology as a useful tool. • Factors such as cost, classroom location (cell reception), student attendance, subject matter, and standardization should be addressed. • It is important that the core Principles of Undergraduate Learning (PULs) do not suffer due to technology in the classroom. Summary and Conclusions • Critical Thinking has been identified as an area in which our students must improve, and technology can either serve as our Friend or as our Foe in this regard.