iClickers and Universal Design for Learning

The iClicker is one of many types of student response systems and, at the University of Vermont, we have adopted the iClicker as our preferred version of a student response system. We are in the process of installing iClicker base stations in many classrooms on campus that have 50+ seat capacity.

What does this mean for learning on campus?

And what does it have to do with Universal Design for Learning (UDL)?

Universal Design for Learning is an instructional framework based on the neuroscience of learning and universal design in architecture. Many times when designing with the three UDL principles: 1. Provide Multiple Means of Representation, 2. Provide Multiple Means of Action and Expression 3. Provide Multiple Means of Engagement, faculty ask me to give some examples of what they can do for each of these principles. I thought I would focus on the iClicker technology to help with each of these UDL design principles.

When using the iClicker and thinking about the first UDL Principle of Representation, you could think about how you can ask questions of the students during lecture that would help students using iClickers in retro cartoon style engage their prior knowledge of the relevant material that you are presenting to them. Also, you can highlight critical parts of the lecture and key ideas with iClicker polls in lecture.

For the second UDL Principle of Action and Expression, the iClicker can be used as an alternate way for students to express what they know so far during the class, and what they still have questions about. As the faculty member it is up to you to create some polling questions that will give students a chance to test their knowledge level of a topic, and also a feeling to interaction with the content and other people in the class. Polling in large courses allows students to see where they are in their own understanding of a topic in relation to their peers. This can be important for helping the students monitor their own learning progress. (Of course the instructor has to let the students see the polling results in order for this to be helpful.)

Lastly, the third UDL Principle of Engagement is what the iClicker is supposed to provide between students and the course content, and, when possible, with each other. The iClicker can be used to poll students on questions that provoke discussion in larger course environments, among pairs and small groups of students. The engagement with students to their peers can be done by doing a poll, then asking students to talk to their peer/s next to them to convince them of their answers. Then the poll is run again to see if the class results change to favor the correct answer. Many faculty tell me this is a great learning tool and that students like having the chance to talk to each other in larger classes. This is also a form of peer instruction.

If you’d like to learn more about iClickers, join us at the CTL for these events
(click the link to read more and register):

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