So I finally corrected all of my mistakes to get eClicker to work. It was during one of our review days, so a bit of an afterthought, but we tried it out. Here are some thoughts.

Once you figure out the basic interface (i.e. just figuring out how the student iPads talk to the teacher iPad, which is very easy), the integration of student, teacher, and quiz is easy. Students find the teacher iPad on their iPad, click on it, and the question appears. Students then have a time limit (set when making the question) within which to answer the question. Once they do, the results appear in the form of a vertical bar graph. Students have a fixed amount of time with the results (about 10 seconds, if I remember correctly, and I’m not sure I have control over that, though I’ve not poked around enough to know), and then it’s on to the next question.

Here are some suggestions / questions / concerns:

The timing was a bit of a surprise. I assumed that once students answered a question they would be moved on to the next question. This did not seem to be the case, i.e. once students answered they remained on the question page until the time had expired. This seemed unnecessarily cumbersome and there did not seem to be a way either to change the timing on each question during the quiz or to change the timing across all questions at once (i.e. I would have to go in and change the timing on each). Also, from using the Promethean ActivVote and ActivExpression system, I can say with certainty that the one thing that students don’t like about SRSs is being timed, i.e. as little pressure they feel using SRSs without time (and they do tell me that they feel less pressured using SRSs than if the same assessment were administered on paper), they would feel as much additional pressure if the SRS questions were timed, because of the inability to go back / the finality of the answers (I suspect, in fact, that this is exactly why eClicker uses the fixed time, to allow students time to reconsider their answers, which something like ActivVote / Expression does not allow).

The results graphic also seems a bit counterintuitive. Each bar of the graph is a different color, I would assume for aesthetics’ sake, but, especially where the color red is concerned, you (read a student) might assume that red is wrong. This is not the case. The right answer’s bar is outlined in turquoise, whatever color the bar might be. Not a huge deal, of course, but again a bit counterintuitive, perhaps.

Finally, I’m unclear how or if such an assessment can be used effectively as a graded assessmnet. I can see quite clearly how this would be used as a check-in or the end of an in-class activity, but each question is listed as a separate ‘session’; I would think that each quiz or taking of a quiz would count as a session, but rather each answering of each question is counted as a ‘session’. Not only does this become cumbersome (my ‘quiz’ was only eight questions and I had to scroll and tap to see the results for each question; imagine if I were giving a 25 question quiz) but it makes unclear how I would figure a total score for the quiz (short of doing the math myself).

I have a lot more of eClicker to explore, but here’s my summary so far:

Pros:
– ease of use, both writing and taking quizzes
– flexibility: question formats, including images, etc.
– instant feedback (not unique to eClicker, of course, but always a plus)

Cons:
– lack of flexibility with question timing
– not being able to merge individual questions into a total result
– arbitrary assignment of colors to results graphs

Finally, I’ve included some pictures here.

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