One out of every five times I boot up my clicker software — a process that takes nearly 120 seconds on my MacBook — the program crashes. Re-booting requires a full-system re-start. I desperately want to make the move to personal digital device dependence in my classes.
Not only would a cloud-based solution be more dependable, but it could also be multi-dimensional. In addition to collecting real-time data from multiple-choice question responses, I could examine student text entry to free-response questions. Word clouds could help me quickly identify conceptual trends. Students could share, rank, and respond to questions they generate themselves about the material we are studying.
If the students had their own web-enabled devices, I could experiment with a classroom backchannel during demonstrations and labs. Group problem-solving work could focus more on scenarios that bring out critical thinking. I could teach them to use tools like Wolfram Alpha’s course assistant apps to access basic concepts when they need them. I might even make the plunge to flip my classroom toward that same end.