A Journey Through Technology

Week #4 – Literature Review

on September 26, 2015

High school chemistry is known by many students as a hard class. The material covered is often times confusing and can be boring if delivered in a traditional lecture-based style, so it can be easy for students to disengage from instruction. Many teachers are constantly working to change how material is presented in their classrooms so the students become more engaged and take a more active role in learning. Many classes use a traditional lecture-driven model, but there is a lack of evidence that lecture-driven classes should be the only instruction approach used in classrooms (Lumpkin, Achen, & Dodd, 2015). Classroom communication systems, which include the use of clickers, or Audience Response Systems (ARS), are commonly used to break out of the lecture-based teaching style.

Beatty (2004) defines classroom communication systems (CCCs) as “technology products…designed to support communication and interactivity in classes.” Moore (2007), as cited by Devlin (2013), says that learners have “grown accustomed to acquiring information and communicating by utilizing technology-based methods.” Students are rarely seen without some kind of technology in their hand, so why not add that to the normal classroom routine? Multiple research studies have been conducted and have found a strong correlation between the use of an ARS and increase student participation and engagement. (Barnes, 2008; Beatty, 2004; Dunn, Richardson, Oprescu, and McDonald (2012); Gunn, 2014; McNabb, 2009; Micheletto, 2011; Terrion & Aceti, 2012).

One benefit to using clickers as an educational tool is that an active learning environment can be created. An active learning environment allows students to learn from doing activities and working with other students instead of just listening to a teacher lecture. Lumpkin et al. (2015) found that “active, collaborative activities engaged students and positively impacted learning.” Barnes (2008) used both lecture-free and lecture-based methods with four different high school biology classes and found that a majority of students preferred the lecture-free method that utilized an ARS, saying they learned more and had to use their brains more than in the lecture-based method.

However, it is not a simple process to begin using an ARS in the classroom. “Using new technologies in teaching brings with it the risk of mis-using technology or not using technology in a pedagogically effective way” (Chittleborough, 2014). It would be very easy to just start using clickers without carefully planning how to use them effectively. Shirley, Irving, Sanalan, Pape, and Owens (2010) also touch on an important aspect of using connected classroom technology (CCT), and that is how practical it is to use. “Practicality consists of three constructs: congruence with teacher’s values and practice; instrumentality — compatibility with the existing school structures, and cost/benefits — whether the reward is worth the effort” (Shirley et al., 2010) It is possible that implementing a certain technology may not fit well in certain schools or with all teachers. Penuel, Boscardin, Masyn, and Crawford (2006) mention a need for teachers to have adequate training in how to properly use student response systems effectively in the classroom. Most teachers do not have a background in the different technologies available, so extra training would be beneficial before using them in the classroom.

“With the ubiquitous use of computers in society there is an increasing need for computer technology to be integrated into teaching” (Chittleborough, 2014). Utilizing clicker technology is one way of integrating a computer technology into the classroom, and hopefully that integration will increase student engagement and offer students a better active learning environment. “Technology may offer a means to enhance student engagement” (Terrion et al., 2012), so trying to implement an active learning classroom through the use of clickers appears to be an attainable goal.


Barnes, L. (2008). Lecture-Free High School Biology Using an Audience Response System. The American Biology Teacher, 70(9), 531-536.

Beatty, I. (2004). Transforming Student Learning with Classroom Communication Systems. EDUCAUSE Center for Applied Research, 2004(3).

Chittleborough, G. (2014). Learning How to Teach Chemistry with Technology: Pre-Service Teachers’ Experiences with Integrating Technology into Their Learning and Teaching. J Sci Teacher Educ Journal of Science Teacher Education, 25, 373-393.

Devlin, T., Feldhaus, C., & Bentrem, K. (2013). The Evolving Classroom: A Study of Traditional and Technology-Based Instruction in a STEM Classroom. Journal of Technology Education, 25(1).

Dunn, P., Richardson, A., Oprescu, F., & Mcdonald, C. (2013). Mobile-phone-based classroom response systems: Students’ perceptions of engagement and learning in a large undergraduate course. International Journal of Mathematical Education in Science and Technology, 44(8), 1160-1174.

Gunn, E. (2014). Using Clickers to Collect Formative Feedback on Teaching: A Tool for Faculty Development. International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 8(1).

Lumpkin, A., Achen, R., & Dodd, R. (2015). Student Perceptions of Active Learning. College Student Journal, 49(1).

McNabb, K. (2009). Use of an Audience Response System to Evaluate and Streamline a General Chemistry Class.

Micheletto, M. (2011). Conducting A Classroom Mini-Experiment Using An Audience Response System: Demonstrating the Isolation Effect. Journal of College Teaching and Learning, 8(8).

Penuel, W., Boscardin, C., Masyn, K., & Crawford, V. (2006). Teaching with student response systems in elementary and secondary education settings: A survey study. Education Tech Research Dev Educational Technology Research and Development, 55, 315-346.

Shirley, M., Irving, K., Sanalan, V., Pape, S., & Owens, D. (2010). The Practicality Of Implementing Connected Classroom Technology In Secondary Mathematics And Science Classrooms. Int J of Sci and Math Educ International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education, 9, 459-481.

Terrion, J., & Aceti, V. (2012). Perceptions of the effects of clicker technology on student learning and engagement: A study of freshmen Chemistry students. Research in Learning Technology, 20.


10 responses to “Week #4 – Literature Review

  1. gkkapatak01 says:

    I used clickers once in college and I enjoyed it. It was new and different from the rest of the traditional classes. I remember using them in my geology class. The instructor let us use them for answering multiple choice questions and would show the percentage of what students answered in each choice. It was interesting to see. Good luck with your research!


  2. tmerculief says:

    Sarah- That is so true! Students are rarely seen with out technology so you should include it in your classroom as well. I try to include as much technology as I can with what I have. I think that students who are actively engaged will be more interesting in what is being presented. Sounds like a interesting action research project. What grade level are you doing this with? I am exciting to hear about your results and what the students think.


  3. Sara Lucas says:

    I think using a response system in class would be a very good way to increase engagement. I will be interested to hear your results. Are you planning to use computers to do this? If so do you have an idea of what software or program you will use?


    • Sarah K says:

      I’m hopefully going to be using remote-style voting devices. There are quite a few sets at my school, I just need to borrow some from another teacher. I hope to get my own set for next school year.


  4. pwjohnsen says:

    I am very interested to hear your findings. I use student response devices in my classroom but they are are designed for simple multiple choice questions. Are your devices similar or can students answer free-response questions. I would really like to play around with free-response devices.


  5. akedtech says:

    Poll Everywhere https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/poll-everywhere/id893375312?mt=8 can be used for free open response! It’s available as an app so you can use it with cell phones – or as a web page – so you can use it and immediately the responses display on the presenter computer. It might be fun to consider.


  6. Tristan Leiter says:

    I think that student response devices would be great to use in all classes. I wish we had clickers at our school or allowed students to bring their own technology so we could use an app/website like Dr. Graham suggested above. I think anything that incorporates technology into the classroom is going to hold students’ attention and help them learn more because that is how they are so used to living their lives. You don’t see a kid or an adult for that matter without a phone, tablet, etc. in their hand multiple times throughout the day. Nice work finding a way to meet the students where they are.


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