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Clickers a high-tech classroom tool

Cindy Ramunno

Imagine you’re a teacher. Think about grading each quiz and test. Wouldn’t it be great if quizzes could be graded instantly?

What if there was a way to have every student respond to every question during discussions and then have a record of it? The Classroom Performance System allows these things to happen.



Eagle Valley High School teacher Bob Zimmerman first learned about the performance system – also known as CPS – through the Colorado Chemistry Teachers Association. He saw a presentation and was hooked.

Zimmerman recently learned how to use the system at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. He got to borrow all of the equipment to use in the classroom for the past few weeks – including a projector, laptop computer and ‘clickers’. That’s right – students take tests with a device that is almost identical to a television’s remote control.



“They are already using the CPS at many colleges, including the University of Colorado,” Zimmerman says.

The ‘clicker’ is on many book lists for students on campus. The student buys a remote control for class that’s labeled with a serial number. On the first day of class, the number is entered into the professor’s system. The professor can then test, quiz and grade students’ knowledge with that device alone.

The teacher can also gage attendance. “Obviously, the professors who care about teaching love this tool,” says Zimmerman, adding that professor scan gage how well they are teaching by asking questions through class discussions and seeing how many students are catching on.



Since it’s visual, has graphics and students get instant feedback on their performance, most students like the performance system, Zimmerman says. In Zimmerman’s class, students got to test out the system and most liked the tool.

“Out of around 20 kids in each class, only one or two didn’t like it in each,” Zimmerman says.

All the other students “loved” the feedback and liked to see how they matched up to other students’ answers, even though they didn’t know which students gave which answers, Zimmerman says.

If a school were to purchase the system, it would most likely be stored in the library and shared by teachers. The performance system is typically encouraged for secondary and college students.


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