Letter to the Editor

The Stull study (Stull, et. al., published in the Spring 2011 FED newsletter) reported a positive learning result from clicker use in a physics classroom. We see this work as a useful contribution to a larger body of research that has gone beyond anecdotal evidence to quantitatively establish the benefits of in-class interactive engagement through clickers or other classroom response systems. For example:

  • Catherine Crouch and Eric Mazur, “Peer Instruction: Ten years of experience and results,” American Journal of Physics 69, 970-977 (2001).
  • M. Smith, W. Wood, W. Adams, C. Wieman, J. Knight, N. Guild, and T. Su, “Why Peer Discussion Improves Student Performance on In-Class Concept Questions,” Science 323, 122-124 (2009).
  • Ralph Preszler, Angus Dawe, Charles Shuster, and Michele Shuster, “Assessment of the effects of student response systems on student learning and attitudes over a broad range of biology courses,” Life Sciences Education 6, 29–41 (2007).
  • Erica Suchman, Kay Uchiyama, Ralph Smith, and Kim Bender, “Evaluating the impact of a classroom response system in a microbiology course,” Microbiology Education 7, 3–11 (2006).
  • N. W. Reay, Pengfei Li, and Lei Bao, “Testing a new voting machine question methodology,” American Journal of Physics 76(2), 171–178 (2008).
  • Adam Fagan, Catherine Crouch, and Eric Mazur, “Peer instruction: results from a range of classrooms,” The Physics Teacher 40, 206-209 (2002).
  • Jennifer Knight and William Wood, “Teaching More by Lecturing Less,” Cell Biology Education 4, 298-310 (2005).
  • David Meltzer and Kandiah Manivannan, “Transforming the lecture-hall environment: The fully interactive physics lecture,” American Journal of Physics 70, 639 (2002).
  • Nathaniel Lasry, Eric Mazur, and Jessica Watkins, “Peer instruction: From Harvard to the two-year college,” American Journal of Physics 76, 1066 (2008).
  • Jane Caldwell, “Clickers in the large classroom: Current research and best-practice tips,” Life Sciences Education 6, 9–20 (2007).

This list is not meant to be exhaustive, but highlights the extensive quantitative results that have come from multiple instructors and institutions.

The Mazur Group, Harvard University

Disclaimer- The articles and opinion pieces found in this issue of the APS Forum on Education Newsletter are not peer refereed and represent solely the views of the authors and not necessarily the views of the APS.