Thursday, February 24, 2011

Clickers for AP MC Practice

I tested out the Clickers technology with my AP English IV class today. The results were a huge improvement over my previous approach to AP MC practice questions.

I provided each student with an AP prose passage that he read and annotated individually. Students were then provided with the AP MC questions via a PPT imported into the Clickers software. Each PPT slide featured one question with five possible answers, and the students had one minute to enter an answer with their clickers.

The Clickers software provided immediate feedback after each question as to how many students got a question correct and what those who missed the question thought was the correct answer. We went over each question together for the benefit of those who incorrectly answered the question as well as to review the different types of answers the AP exam typically features. We then moved on to the next question and slowly progressed through the entire section.

Overall, I thought the experiment a tremendous success, and I think from here on out I will use Clickers with AP MC practice questions. It took about an hour and some change to install the software, create the two classes, plug in the students, put together the PPT with the AP MC questions, and figure out how to get the PPT to sync into the Clickers software. It was a great investment of time with a huge payoff. The Clickers approach received rave reviews from the boys who unanimously found it more productive and beneficial than what we were doing previously.

The trickiest part of the whole process was learning to navigate the user interface in a fluid and seamless way. With a little bit of trial and error, however, you can get the hang of it pretty quickly. I highly recommend the Clickers software/hardware strategy to other teachers! You will have to convince your administration to invest in the hardware end of it, but I think there are myriad applications for this neat technology.

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