Though it seems like summer has hardly arrived, I’ve noticed that people are planning already for the fall semester.
If you are planning on using iClickers in your classroom this fall, now is the time to order the iClickers through the SFU bookstore. It’s the same process as ordering text books, which makes it easy. I recommend that you download the updated iClicker software from their site. The MAC and PC software were updated this Spring, with new features. You can get updated user guides on their site as well. If you have a clicker base unit, you are all set, and if not, you can contact Amy Severson (ajs [at] sfu [dot] ca) or 778-782-7245. iClicker has produced a short video (no audio) that gives you a basic preview of the software for delivering and reviewing questions.
Now is a good time to think about what kinds of questions you want to ask as well:
- Tracking attitudes or opinions: ask questions that don’t have a right or wrong answer, but ask students to make a judgment based on their experience or what you’ve discussed or read in the classroom.
- Exam questions: Practice questions from past exams can give students a sense of what might appear on the exam or where their gaps of knowledge might be.
- Check in or Comprehension questions: Ask questions for which you’ve just provided the answer, to emphasize the importance of what you’ve said, or to help them apply what they’ve just been told.
- Reminders: Asking questions based on pre-requisite or key points of the readings can trigger that background knowledge they’ll need to follow you on the next point (a useful reminder on the value of readings!)
- Transitional questions: Rhetorical questions to spark their interest – they may not have the knowledge or background to answer the question, but it provides a bridge to the next topic.
Good luck in the new semester; you’ve got an opportunity to get to know your students, encourage application of knowledge, implement some active learning and give and receive feedback on student learning. Be prepared, and tell your students how your implementation will assist in their learning.