The Pros and Cons of i>Clickers

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The i>Clicker brand is growing at exponential rates. It has hit many large scale classrooms that cannot tally votes accurately otherwise. i>Clicker bills itself as a piece of technology that applies “…a device [similar]to that used on ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire’ with classrooms'”. There are criticisms that would otherwise be ignored, but with a tiny 6 inch device dictating a majority of our grade, many are concerned with accuracy, price, and cheating.

On the i>Clicker website there are numerous testimonials that praise the device for its reliability, saying “it never fails or crashes, it just works!”. Reliability, among ratings from Amazon customers, seems to be fairly high. A few customers state that the Duracell batteries included with the product are low grade and will wear out shortly after activation. Most other complaints regarding the product refer to its abnormally high price tag ($40). After all, since this little remote-like object is so tiny and expendable, why the high price tag? The answer is because they can. i>Clicker has a monopoly on entire classrooms that depend on its function, if you do not own one you will fail. Hence, the company can charge whatever it pleases.

Alot of other critique regarding “clickers” in general is that it makes cheating very feasible. Hypothetically, if a student wished to skip lectures and class, he (or she) could give his (or her) clicker to a friend and have that friend click all of the correct answers. Since these devices stand no more than half a foot tall they are easy to conceal. The response to this particular criticism aimed towards i>Clicker is that if a student skips every class, he (or she) will fail tests and ultimately, the course. A college-level course that relies entirely on attendance and i>Clicker usage, after all, is hardly a class at all. The device is meant to supplement, not replace a course.

The vast majority of i>Clicker users, however, seem to be very satisfied by this technological innovation. They think it adds some fun to the otherwise dull atmosphere of collegiate scantrons and number 2 pencils. Students appear to enjoy how fun and reliable they are, but that is not the question. What seems to be the pinnacle of the opposition’s argument is its $40 shelf price ($30 used). Reviewers who gave positive ratings to the device on Amazon.com believe that since everything else in college is overpriced, that merely makes the i>Clicker one of many collegiate products who overprice their products. So why single out the clicker? If forty dollars will lead to a more accurate counting of votes, answers, and attendance, then so be it, proponents argue. After all, registration is simple: go to a website, type in your number, and viola! Your i>Clicker is good to go.

Most college students enrolling in 2010 will see a large increase in usage with these devices. This brand of “clickers” alone services thousands of higher institutions of learning, corporate boards, elementary schools, and high schools. Every single person who encounters this device will have their own opinion on it, but for now it appears as if a large majority of students and corporations are glad they did business with i>Clicker. Although cheating and peer pressure play a large role in clickers, many professors believe they give an attentive element to the classroom. If students are interacting with the material, they will focus better and retain more information, so they say.

Bottom line is, if you want to try one of these little babies out, you are in luck. Most major universities have adopted their use (or many other brands such as eBeam and Qwizdom). Large scale classrooms also are very likely to consider using clickers to enhance an otherwise impersonal learning experience. Keep a sharp eye out for i>Clickers, and be sure to inform other potential college students of your recommendation.

Sources:

– i>Clicker, Mainsite

– Amazon, i>Clicker Reviews

– BlogHer, Using clickers in the university classroom

– Faculty Focus, Using clickers to assess and engage student learning

– Electronic Whiteboards Warehouse, Audience Response Systems

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