Active Learning: Teaching with Classroom Response Systems
October 09, 2023

Teaching with Classroom Response Systems: Creating Active Learning Environments by Derek Bruff is a comprehensive guide for educators on how to effectively incorporate classroom response systems, also known as clickers, into their teaching practices. This book offers valuable insights and practical strategies for enhancing student engagement and promoting active learning in the classroom.

The author starts by introducing the concept of classroom response systems and their potential benefits. He explains that these systems allow educators to pose questions to their students in real-time and receive immediate feedback. This encourages active participation and provides opportunities for formative assessment. Bruff emphasizes that using clickers can transform the traditional lecture-based classroom into a more interactive and engaging environment, where students take an active role in their learning.

The book highlights the importance of aligning the use of classroom response systems with well-defined learning objectives. Bruff suggests that educators should strategically plan the use of clickers in order to address specific pedagogical goals. By using clicker questions that are closely related to course content and learning outcomes, instructors can effectively gauge student understanding, foster critical thinking, and facilitate discussions.

One of the key takeaways from this book is the emphasis on creating effective clicker questions. Bruff provides guidelines for crafting questions that promote higher-order thinking skills and meaningful discussions. He recommends using conceptually challenging questions that require students to apply their knowledge and draw connections between different concepts. The book also offers tips for designing multiple-choice questions that prompt students to reason through each option and analyze misconceptions.

In addition to question design, Bruff includes strategies for integrating clicker activities into different teaching formats. He suggests using clickers to generate class discussions, encourage peer instruction, and assess student understanding. The author supports his suggestions with examples from a wide range of disciplines, demonstrating the versatility of clickers in different educational contexts.

Furthermore, the book provides insights into managing classroom dynamics when using clickers. Bruff offers practical advice on handling technical issues, ensuring students have access to the necessary technology, and fostering an inclusive environment. He emphasizes the importance of clear communication and transparency in explaining the purpose and expectations of clicker use to the students.

Derek Buff
Derek Bruff

An essential aspect of using clickers is the analysis and interpretation of the collected data. Bruff discusses different ways to effectively use clicker data for pedagogical purposes. He highlights strategies for identifying patterns, assessing student performance, and providing timely feedback. By analyzing clicker data, instructors can gauge the effectiveness of their teaching strategies and make necessary adjustments to improve student learning.

The final section of the book explores ways to create a community of clicker users. Bruff encourages educators to engage in pedagogical scholarship by sharing their experiences, research findings, and best practices with other instructors. He provides resources and ideas for participating in clicker communities and collaborating with colleagues to build upon the collective knowledge in this field.

In conclusion, Teaching with Classroom Response Systems: Creating Active Learning Environments offers a comprehensive guide for educators looking to incorporate clickers into their teaching practices. The book emphasizes the importance of aligning clicker use with learning objectives and provides practical strategies for creating effective clicker questions, managing classroom dynamics, and analysing clicker data. It serves as a valuable resource for educators seeking to enhance student engagement and create active learning environments.

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