Clickers in the Classroom: Are They Worth It?

Clickers in the Classroom: Are They Worth It?

Classroom remote devices. Smartphones connected to education apps. As clicker technology becomes more widely available, teachers’ use of clickers (devices that can collect student responses in real-time) is becoming increasingly common in both K-12 and university classrooms. While teachers use clickers across a range of subjects, authors Cui Liu et al. argue that there are common themes when it comes to the effectiveness of those clickers on student learning.

For their paper, “The Effects of Clickers with Different Teaching Strategies,” Cui Liu et al. analyzed 128 peer-reviewed articles about the use of clickers in the classroom to gain a better understanding of the types of teaching methods (using clickers) that produced positive outcomes on student learning. The authors note that thus far the majority of research on clickers has been conducted in college classrooms. The 128 papers chosen for their literature review reflect that high number, with 113 of the studies taking place in college classrooms, 6 at the secondary level, 2 at the elementary school and 7 in other types of education environments (607).

STEM Instruction, Relevance, and Students’ Future Career Paths

STEM Instruction and the Importance of Relevance

It’s not interesting. It’s not relevant. Too often teachers hear these phrases from students in science and mathematics classes. In their article, “The impact of college- and university-run high school summer programs on students’ end of high school STEM career aspirations,” Joseph A. Kitchen et al. argue that in order to inspire students to not only find interest in STEM content, but to ultimately choose STEM career paths, it is essential for STEM classes and programs to keep content relevant. The authors show that instructors can significantly and positively alter students’ perceptions of STEM subjects by engaging students with real-world applications and actual professionals in STEM fields (13).

The authors note that it is during high school when many students start seriously considering their future career paths. Given that high school students’ aspirations are still malleable, it is also a prime time for STEM instructors to promote not just present understanding of STEM subjects, but students’ future trajectory for STEM career choices (12).

The Pervasiveness of Mental Health Problems in College Freshmen

Mental Health Problems in College Freshmen

The college years are an exciting time in a student’s life, as they present opportunities for transition, growth, and learning. However, authors Ronny Bruffaerts et al. remark that the college years are also a “peak period for the first onset of a broad range of mental disorders” (97). Indeed, previous studies have revealed that up to 50% of college students may have one or more common mental health problems (97). These students are twice as likely to drop out of college without earning a degree, compared to their peers who do not have mental disorders (97). 

In their paper, “Mental health problems in college freshmen: Prevalence and academic functioning,” Bruffaerts et al. examine the pervasiveness of mental health problems in college freshmen and how those mental health problems affect student academic functioning.

The Effect of Social Networking on Academic Achievement

The Effect of Social Networking on Academic Achievement

Twitter. Instagram. Facebook. The amount of time that students spend social networking has become a concern for parents, teachers, and even for students themselves. In their paper, “Effect of online social networking on student academic performance,” Jomon Aliyas Paul et al. explain that, in particular, students’ time spent on online social networking (OSN) both in and out of the classroom negatively effects their academic performance. The authors begin their paper with a walk through a typical undergraduate classroom, where at least half of the students have laptops out and most of the students have smart phones by their side. While these students claim to be taking notes, one could observe that they are often online, and are very often on Facebook. The authors explain that this kind of behavior is not only distracting for the offenders—noting that they tend to ask more questions about things the professor has covered earlier—but it is also distracting to other students in class. The readers are asked to think about several questions, namely whether technology should be allowed in classrooms if it is not an essential part of the lesson (2117).