Over the past few months I have seen an increased interest in Classroom Response Systems (CRS) of one type or another. Whether for pop quizzes or real-time polling, using a classroom response system can add that extra level of interactivity into your session and help engage students in a practical way.
What are they?
Classroom Response Systems (CRS), also known as Audience Response Systems, Student Response Systems, or Personal Response Systems have been around for many years now. They were originally hand-held devices (Clickers) allowing participants to select their chosen response to a question set by the presenter by clicking on the corresponding number/letter/colour or symbol (depending on the device).
As a Learning Technologist it was always a challenge to support these devices whether making sure all the devices had working batteries installed, getting each individual device recognised by the system or supporting educators to develop polls and quizzes using the often clunky software.
Fortunately, with the development of online services with modern user interfaces and the almost ubiquitous ownership of mobile devices and/or laptops these problems are for the most part a thing of the past. Welcome to the modern Classroom Response Systems (CRS).
There are dozens of systems available from companies such as Turning Technologies who are a traditional manufacturer of Clicker solutions now also providing software and mobile solutions primarily at the education sector, through to online cloud solutions aimed at niche markets.
For an academic wanting to experiment with incorporating a CRS into their teaching there are a number of these online solutions which might be a good starting point as they all offer a basic free account. No platform below is recommended over the others, each has its strengths and weaknesses and it is recommended that you experiment to see which best suits your needs without having to invest any money at this early stage. Your Faculty Blended Learning Officer / Learning Technologist will be happy to work with you to find the best solution for you.
Kahoot: A well-liked system which is easy to use and designed around the ideas of gamification and fun. Kahoot doesn’t have a wide range of question types which lends itself to pop quizzes but not more detailed needs. Also due to its emphasis on fun it is often seen as more appropriate for schools rather than universities!
Socrative: Socrative has been a popular choice with educators, especially in the HE sector, for a number of years. Though the free account limits you to only 50 participants, which wouldn’t work for larger lectures, it does have a good selection of question types.
Mentimeter: Currently being used by several academics in the Faculty of Environment, Mentimeter has proven itself a reliable CRS in both FE and HE.
Meetoo: A newer player in the CRS market, Meetoo has a good selection of question types along with back end administration and analytics. There is currently a LUBS project piloting Meetoo as a potential CRS.
Poll Everywhere: A solid platform that has been around for many years. Poll Everywhere is used in both education and business. It does what it says on the tin!
As mentioned previously there is no institutional system available and there are several individual examples of their use across the Faculties. The University is currently investigating the viability of an institutional license of such a tool available to all staff. Watch this space!
For further help and advice please contact a member of the Teaching Innovation Support Team at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Ideas and Strategies for Using Classroom Response Systems (UBC)
- Bruff, D. (2010). Multiple-choice questions you wouldn’t put on a test: Promoting deep learning using clickers. Essays on Teaching Excellence, 21(3).
- Wu, Yenchun & Wu, Tienhua & Li, Yibin. (2017). Impact of using classroom response systems on students’ entrepreneurship learning experience. Computers in Human Behavior.