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What are clickers and how can they help engage my students in class?


2.0 - Updated on 2019-08-12 by Judy STERN

1.0 - Authored on 2015-07-13 by Alyssa Ferrell


Clickers allow students in the classroom to instantly provide feedback, answer questions, and vote in response to questions you pose.

Each student uses a "clicker," a portable, handheld device that allows them to vote or make a selection by pressing a button.

A receiver which is connected to a computer's USB port collects the results sent through radio waves from the students' clickers.

Questions can be written on the fly or included in your presentation:

  1. Instructors present a question and enable polling.
  2. Each student responds by “clicking” the appropriate button for his or her choice.
  3. A radio signal is sent immediately from each responding clicker to the receiver.
  4. The receiver stores the data of each individual student in the iClicker application's gradebook.
  5. The instructor can choose whether or not to display results in a graph to the audience and conduct additional classroom activities to promote active learning.
  6. The results are also available for later analysis and uploading into your bCourses gradebook.

Using clickers can significantly change the way you and your students interact by enabling you to assess your students' knowledge (or for them to assess their own knowledge), keep their attention, provide immediate feedback, and encourage all students to participate.

If you would like to read more, there are articles about clicker usage on our Clickers Additional Resources page.