In a recent blog post, Dave Foord, an education consultant in the UK, describes his use of clickers in a sports science course. The course included a leadership component and so he had each of his students lead part of a class session. He then had the other students provide feedback, but he found that the students were hesitant to publicly criticize their peers, leaving him to be the bad guy.
One year, however, he had his students provide feedback using clickers, which allowed them to provide anonymous and thus more-honest feedback.
This had a much better effect on the learner who had lead, than me just ploughing in with critiscisms – instead I was able to pick up on the feedback from their peers, and pick out the reasons why, and what to do next time to better effect.
The use of clickers to have students assess their peers’ work (presentations, papers, works of art, performances) seems to have a lot of promise, primarily for the reason Dave points out. A couple of months ago, I met Ray Miller, a theater and dance instructor, and he said that in the performing arts, peer critique is an important learning activity, one that could be enhanced with the use of clickers in this fashion.
Have you had students assess their peers’ work using clickers? If so, how did it go?