, Volume 17, Issue 6, pp 544-552

Gender Differences in the Use and Effectiveness of Personal Response Devices

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Abstract

The use of personal response devices (or “clickers”) in the classroom has increased in recent years. While few quantitative studies on the effectiveness of clickers have been published, it is generally reported that clickers have been well-received by the students who use them. Two separate populations (Winter 2006 and Spring 2006) of engineering students were given clickers to use during a general chemistry class. Clicker use was compared to student grades for each course. During both terms, a higher percentage of female students than male students “actively participated” in the lectures, where active participation was defined as answering more than 75% of the clicker questions over the course of the term. Active male students earned final grades about 10 points higher than non-active male students. Active female students, however, scored only about 5 points higher than non-active female students. Student learning was assessed by comparing performance on exam questions and clicker questions with similar content. Students who answered clicker questions correctly were 11–13% more likely to answer the corresponding exam questions correctly than were students who did not answer the clicker question. In this paper, we demonstrate the effectiveness of clicker use in the classroom and examine gender differences associated with this use.