Teaching with Classroom Response Systems: Creating Active Learning Environments
February 2009, Jossey-Bass
A must-read for anyone interested in interactive teaching and the use of clickers. This book draws on the experiences of countless instructors across a wide range of disciplines to provide both novice and experienced teachers with practical advice on how to make classes more fun and more effective.”--Eric Mazur, Balkanski Professor of Physics and Applied Physics, Harvard University, and author, Peer Instruction: A User’s Manual
“Those who come to this book needing practical advice on using ‘clickers’ in the classroom will be richly rewarded: with case studies, a refreshing historical perspective, and much pedagogical ingenuity. Those who seek a deep, thoughtful examination of strategies for active learning will find that here as well—in abundance. Dr. Bruff achieves a marvelous synthesis of the pragmatic and the philosophical that will be useful far beyond the life span of any single technology.” --Gardner Campbell, Director, Academy for Teaching and Learning, and Associate Professor of Literature, Media, and Learning, Honors College, Baylor University
1. Engaging Students with Clickers.
Generating Classwide Discussions.
Generating Small-Group Discussions.
Creating Times for Telling.
Structuring Class Time.
Making Class More Fun.
2. Assessing Students with Clickers.
Uncovering Student Learning.
Evaluating Student Learning.
3. A Taxonomy of Clicker Questions.
4. Teaching Choices.
Use of Class Time.
Student Response, Participation, and Grading.
5. Technical and Logistical Choices.
Vendor Selection and Adoption.
Supporting and Promoting the Use of Clickers.
6. Why Use Clickers?
Increased Student Participation.
Increased Student Engagement.
Frequent Feedback on Student Learning.
The author Derek Bruff is an assistant director at the Vanderbilt University Center for Teaching and a senior lecturer in the Vanderbilt Department of Mathematics. Formerly he was a faculty preceptor in the Harvard University Department of Mathematics, teaching several courses and coordinating multisection calculus courses.
Bruff supplements his points on engagement and assessment with a classified array of clicker questions for a variety of teaching contexts. He also provides helpful advice on teaching choices with response systems: when to grade clicker questions, how to use them for summative assessment, and how to address cheating and lack of participation. He provides additional helpful suggestions on dealing with logistical issues such as system choice and troubleshooting. Throughout, the reader benefits from the copious examples gleaned from teachers.
This book convincingly demonstrates that clicker technology allows teachers and students to adapt quickly to emerging learning needs….Bruff’s work is an enthusiastic, accessible, and detailed introduction for all educators interested in this popular educational technology tool.”
—NACADA Journal, Issue 30(1) (Spring 2010)“Dr. Bruff’s thoughtful description of effective practices with clickers, based on numerous interviews with higher education instructors, both reinforces and extends the knowledge base on response system use in higher education. The emphasis on pedagogical approaches will make this book useful and relevant for years to come, even as the technologies themselves evolve. In fact, as small wireless devices become ubiquitous, this book will only grow in importance.
Dr. Bruff’s prior work has been very influential in the development of San Diego State’s clicker program, and this book will be an essential resource for our instructors and the instructional support staff who work with them. Dr. Bruff thoroughly describes the pedagogies associated with effective clicker usage. I believe any interested instructor will find actionable ideas to benefit student learning.
Dr. Bruff has been a strong advocate of active learning with response systems in higher education. This book provides both breadth and depth in its descriptive treatment of pedagogical approaches to clicker use derived through dozens of interviews of postsecondary instructors. This work will be highly beneficial to faculty seeking to enhance learning, regardless of the technical details of the response system they use.
At SDSU, instructors become interested in clicker use based largely on the experiences and examples of their peers. Through case studies across numerous disciplines, Dr. Bruff’s book takes a similar approach which should prove accessible and useful for many faculty. Instructors already using response systems will also find much here to further improve the classroom learning environment.”
--Jim Julius, Associate Director, Instructional Technology Services, San Diego State University
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