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New 'clicker' manages college class attendance

By Catholic Online
November 17th, 2010
Catholic Online (

A new device, simply called a "clicker" for half a million college students, allows for a greater interaction in classrooms - as well as monitor attendance. It seems that naughty students intent on cutting class will have a much harder time with classroom clickers.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The New York Times reports that Northwestern University students are now using the device to participate in class by answering a variety of quiz questions. The device also automatically indicates if students attend class and if they arrive on time.

Said "clicker" is a palm-size, wireless device that looks like a TV remote. In class, students are often forced to answer quiz questions using the "clicker" nearly every 15 minutes, and audience responses are instantly displayed with colorful graphics on the class screen. The device even offers a way to indicate that you don't understand the lecture without having to raise your hand.

Some students displeased with this level of control by professors of their class experience -- but not all.

"I actually kind of like it," Jasmine Morris, a senior majoring in industrial engineering at Northwestern University, told the New York Times. "It does make you read. It makes you pay attention. It reinforces what you're supposed to be doing as a student."

Although designed for educational purposes, there are even applications that convert iPads and BlackBerrys into similar devices. Studies have shown that using a mobile device that students are comfortable with helps with learning.

One advantage for the device is that it can actually encourage students to participate in a more traditional way. When students use the device to vote on a particular question posed by the professor and then see that their opinion coincides with that of the majority of students in the class, they may be more inclined to discuss their views.

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