Clickers Meta-AnalysisResearch on audience response systems, better known as "clickers," is mixed (Poirier & Feldman, 2012). Nonetheless, many researchers agree that using clickers generally improves students learning (Caldwell, 2007; Knight & Wood, 2005) and their overall engagement (Caldwell, 2007; Roschelle, Penuel, & Abrahamson, 2004). For example, a large study (2,684 participants) conducted at the University of Wisconsin, found that classes that implemented clickers produced a statistically significant positive impact on student grades and led to increased engagement (Kaleta & Joosten, 2007). Clickers are relatively inexpensive, easy to implement, and can be used in a variety of classroom situations (Beatty, 2004). One might use clickers to conduct in-class quizzes, measure student comprehension, or increase student engagement. Clickers can also help facilitate peer discussion (Keller et al., 2007), as well as peer instruction (instructors provide activities that require students to apply fundamental concepts learned in class, and then explain their answer to their peers) which has shown to have a positive influence on student learning (Crouch, & Mazur, 2001). Implementing the use of clickers can be rewarding to both the professor and students (Trees & Jackson, 2007), because they provide an avenue for bidirectional communication -- students respond and the professor adapts the lecture based on how much students learned, etc. The majority of the research involving clickers has been conducted with university students, but the general findings may be useful when implementing clickers in a k-12 environment.


  1. Thoughtfully integrate clickers into each lecture (e.g., peer instruction questions)
  2. Assign points for clicker participation (assignments)
  3. Space clicker questions 15-20 minutes apart
  4. Adapt the lecture if students are performing poorly on the clicker questions
  5. Do not use clickers for attendance


Case Studies

  1. Clickers in the classroom: Transforming students into active learners:
  2. Learning a click away in VUSN nutrition class:


Beatty, I. (2004). Transforming student learning with classroom communication systems. Educause, 2004(3), 1-13.

Caldwell, J. E. (2007). Clickers in the large classroom: Current research and best-practice tips. Life Sciences Education, 6, 9-20.

Crouch, C. H., & Mazur, E. (2001). Peer Instruction: Ten years of experience and results. American Journal of Physics,69(9), 970.

Kaleta, R., & Joosten, T. (2007). Student response systems: A University of Wisconsin system study of clickers. Educause,2007(10), 1-12.

Keller, C., Finkelstein, N., Perkins, K., Pollock, S., Turpen, C., & Dubson, M. (2007). Research-based practices for effective clicker use. Proceedings for the Physics Education Research Conference (pp. 128-131). Greensboro, North Carolina.

Knight, J. K., & Wood, W. B. (2005). Article Teaching More by Lecturing Less. Cell Biology Education, 4(Winter), 298-310.

Poirier, C. R., & Feldman, R. S. (2012). Using technology to enhance teaching and learning. In B. Schwartz & R. A. R. Gurung (Eds.), Evidence-based teaching for higher education (pp. 39-57). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Roschelle, J., Penuel, W. R., & Abrahamson, L. (2004). The networked classroom. Educational Leadership, 61(5), 50-54.

Trees, A., & Jackson, M. (2007). The learning environment in clicker classrooms: Student processes of learning and involvement in large university-level courses using student response systems. Learning, Media and Technology, 32(1), 21-40.