Audience Response Tools

What are Audience Response Tools

An audience response system is a system of technologies used in real-time or synchronously to quickly receive responses and feedback from an audience. Sometimes also referred to as a personal response system, an audience response system is a set of (typically wireless) devices that allow users in an audience to send their vote, response, or feedback to a central receiver operated by the presenter or instructor. The responses are collected and totaled by the system to provide a summary on a central screen. The results can then be discussed.

What is the purpose of Audience Response Tools

An audience response system allows a presenter to quickly gather feedback from an audience. Each member can respond to a question, such as a question with multiple choice answers.

The system can be used to determine the audience's general understanding of a topic. Based on the results, the presenter can determine whether to spend more time on the current topic or move on to another. Similarly, the results can change the presenter's focus of the presentation by revealing gaps in the audience's understanding.

Audience response systems can also be used for a number of other purposes, such as evaluation and self-paced quizzing, participation and attendance gathering, and decision making and voting.

An audience response system is particularly efficient with a larger audience where quickly gathering accurate feedback and responses was difficult previously.

How to use Audience Response Tools

Each member of the audience has a response device called a clicker which allows them to send their responses to the presenter. Depending on the particular response system, the clicker can be a dedicated response device or an existing personal mobile device like a smartphone or laptop. The presenter has a receiver and software that collects these incoming responses and collates them into a summarized view of the data. The presenter chooses whether to display the summarized results back to the audience, which can then be the focus of a discussion, for example.

iClicker Cloud is Western's preferred and campus-supported audience response or clicker system. It is also the name of the software used to present questions to an audience and to collect "click" responses received back from the audience. iClicker cloud works with both physical clickers and virtual clickers in either separate or mixed clicker-type environments.

Comparison

Centrally Supported Tool
iClicker Cloud
Plickers Centrally Supported Tool
Polls Tool - OWL
Top Hat
Functionality functionality rating for iClicker Cloud: 2 stars functionality rating for Plickers: 2 stars functionality rating for Polls Tool - OWL: 2 stars functionality rating for Top Hat: 2 stars
Accessibility accessibility rating for iClicker Cloud: 2 stars accessibility rating for Plickers: 2 stars accessibility rating for Polls Tool - OWL: 3 stars accessibility rating for Top Hat: 2 stars
Technical technical rating for iClicker Cloud: 2 stars technical rating for Plickers: 2 stars technical rating for Polls Tool - OWL: 3 stars technical rating for Top Hat: 2 stars
Mobile Design mobile-design rating for iClicker Cloud: 2 stars mobile-design rating for Plickers: 3 stars mobile-design rating for Polls Tool - OWL: 1 stars mobile-design rating for Top Hat: 3 stars
Usage & Account Set Up usage-account rating for iClicker Cloud: 1 stars usage-account rating for Plickers: 2 stars usage-account rating for Polls Tool - OWL: 1 stars usage-account rating for Top Hat: 1 stars
Social Presence social-presence rating for iClicker Cloud: 2 stars social-presence rating for Plickers: 2 stars social-presence rating for Polls Tool - OWL: 2 stars social-presence rating for Top Hat: 2 stars
Instructor Presence instructor-presence rating for iClicker Cloud: 3 stars instructor-presence rating for Plickers: 3 stars instructor-presence rating for Polls Tool - OWL: 2 stars instructor-presence rating for Top Hat: 3 stars
Cognitive Presence cognitive-presence rating for iClicker Cloud: 3 stars cognitive-presence rating for Plickers: 2 stars cognitive-presence rating for Polls Tool - OWL: 2 stars cognitive-presence rating for Top Hat: 3 stars

Literature

Fies, C. & Marshall, J. (2006). Classroom response systems: A review of the literature. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 15(1), 101-109.

This comprehensive review provides an orientation to the pedagogical theory of audience response systems and a summary of investigative studies into their effectiveness.

M.K. Smith, W.B. Wood, K. Krauter, J.K. Knight. (2011). Combining Peer Discussion with Instructor Explanation Increases Student Learning from In-Class Concept Questions. CBE-Life Sciences Education, 10, 55-63.

This research study found that audience response questions that were followed by both peer discussion and instructor explanation were most effective in improving student performance.

Additional Resources