Clickers are part of a Personal Response System (PRS) that includes:
- a set of remote control units (“clickers”) that students use to respond to questions posed by the instructor;
- a receiver plugged into the classroom computer (or instructor’s laptop) that picks up the students’ answers;
- software that is used to create multiple choice questions, and tabulate and display student responses.
Clickers can be used to support a wide variety of teaching activities. In a science course, for example, the instructor might give a mini-lecture on a new or difficult concept, followed by some questions to test if students understand the new concept, and discussion to address misconceptions or barriers. To facilitate discussion on a difficult topic, a sociology instructor might poll students to reveal their assumptions about a particular population. In business ethics, the instructor might pose a theoretical dilemma, and ask the students to respond anonymously as to how they would act in that situation.