Journal of Science Education and Technology

, Volume 18, Issue 5, pp 382–392 | Cite as

Exploring the Use of Audience Response Systems in Secondary School Science Classrooms



An audience response systems (ARS) allows students to respond to multiple choice questions using remote control devices. Once the feedback is collected and displayed, the teacher and students discuss misconceptions and difficulties experienced. ARSs have been extremely popular and effective in higher education science classrooms, although almost no research has been done at the secondary school level. The purpose of this study was to conduct a detailed formative analysis of the benefits, challenges, and use of ARSs from the perspective of 213 secondary school science students. Perceived benefits were increased student involvement (engagement, participation, and attention) and effective formative assessment of student understanding. Perceived challenges included decreased student involvement and learning when ARSs were used for summative assessment, occasional technological malfunctions, resistance to using a new method of learning, and increased stress due to time constraints when responding to questions. Finally, students rated the use of ARSs significantly higher when it was used for formative as opposed to summative assessment.


Audience response systems Secondary school Science Evaluation 


  1. Abrahamson L (2006) A brief history of networked classrooms: effects, cases, pedagogy, and implications. In: Banks DA (ed) Audience response systems in higher education. Information Science Publishing, Hershey, pp 1–25Google Scholar
  2. Allen D, Tanner K (2005) Infusing active learning into the large-enrolment biology class: seven strategies, from the simple to complex. Cell Biol Educ 4:262–268. doi:10.1187/cbe.05-08-0113 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Beatty I (2004) Transforming student learning with classroom communication systems. EDUCAUSE Res Bull 3:1–13. Retrieved 3 Nov 2007 from Google Scholar
  4. Beatty ID, Leonard WJ, Gerace WJ, Dufresne RJ (2006) Question driven instruction: teaching science (well) with an audience response system. In: Banks DA (ed) Audience response systems in higher education. Information Science Publishing, Hershey, pp 96–115Google Scholar
  5. Bergtrom G (2006). Clicker sets as learning objects. Interdiscip J Knowl Learn Objects 2. Retrieved 3 Nov 2007 from
  6. Brewer CA (2004) Near real-time assessment of student learning and understanding in biology courses. Bioscience 54(11):1034–1039. doi:10.1641/0006-3568(2004)054[1034:NRAOSL]2.0.CO;2 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Burton K (2006) The trial of an audience response system to facilitate problem-based learning in legal education. In: Banks DA (ed) Audience response systems in higher education. Information Science Publishing, Hershey, pp 265–276Google Scholar
  8. Caldwell JE (2007) Clickers in the large classroom: current research and best-practice tips. Life Sci Educ 6(1):9–20Google Scholar
  9. Carnaghan C, Webb A (2007) Investigating the effects of group response systems on student satisfaction, learning, and engagement in accounting education. Issues Acc Educ 22(3):391–409. doi:10.2308/iace.2007.22.3.391 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Crouch CH, Mazur E (2001) Peer instruction: ten years of experience and results. Am J Phys 69(9):970–977. doi:10.1119/1.1374249 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. D’Inverno R, Davis H, White S (2003) Using a personal response system for promoting student interaction. Teach Math Its Appl 22(4):163–169. doi:10.1093/teamat/22.4.163 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Draper SW, Brown MI (2004) Increasing interactivity in lectures using an electronic voting system. J Comput Assist Learn 20(2):81–94. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2729.2004.00074.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Dufresne RJ, Gerace WJ (2004) Assessing-to-learn: formative assessment in physics instruction. Phys Teach 42:428–433. doi:10.1119/1.1804662 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Fagan AP, Crouch CH, Mazur E (2002) Peer instruction: results from a range of classrooms. Phys Teach 40(4):206–209. doi:10.1119/1.1474140 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Fies C, Marshall J (2006) Classroom response systems: a review of the literature. J Sci Educ Technol 15(1):101–109. doi:10.1007/s10956-006-0360-1 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Freeman M, Bell A, Comerton-Forder C, Pickering J, Blayney P (2007) Factors affecting educational innovation with in class electronic response systems. Australas J Educ Technol 23(2):149–170Google Scholar
  17. Greer L, Heaney PJ (2004) Real-time analysis of student comprehension: an assessment of electronic student response technology in an introductory earth science course. J Geosci Educ 52(4):345–351Google Scholar
  18. Hatch J, Jensen M, Moore R (2005) Manna from heaven or clickers from hell. J Coll Sci Teach 34(7):36–39Google Scholar
  19. Hinde K, Hunt A (2006) Using the personal response system to enhance student learning: some evidence from teaching economics. In: Banks DA (ed) Audience response systems in higher education. Information Science Publishing, Hershey, pp 140–154Google Scholar
  20. Jackson M, Ganger AC, Bridge PD, Ginsburg K (2005) Wireless handheld computers in the undergraduate medical curriculum. Med Educ Online 10(5). Retrieved 3 Nov 2007 from
  21. Jones C, Connolly M, Gear A, Read M (2001) Group integrative learning with group process support technology. Br J Educ Technol 32(5):571–581. doi:10.1111/1467-8535.00226 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Judson E, Sawada D (2002) Learning from past and present: electronic response systems in college lecture halls. J Comput Math Sci Teach 21(2):167–181Google Scholar
  23. Kaleta R, Joosten T (2007) Student response systems: a university of Wisconsin system study of clickers. EDUCAUSE Res Bull 2007(10):1–12Google Scholar
  24. Kay RH (2008a) Audience response systems attitude scale. Retrieved 22 Nov 2008 from
  25. Kay RH (2008b) Coding scheme for secondary school students comments about audience response systems. Retrieved 22 Nov 2008 from
  26. Kennedy GE, Cutts QI (2005) The association between students’ use of electronic voting systems and their learning outcomes. J Comput Assist Learn 21(4):260–268. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2729.2005.00133.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Latessa R, Mouw D (2005) Use of audience response system to augment interactive learning. Fam Med 37(1):12–14. Retrieved 3 Nov 2007 from Google Scholar
  28. McCabe M (2006) Live assessment by questioning in an interactive classroom. In: Banks DA (ed) Audience response systems in higher education. Information Science Publishing, Hershey, pp 276–288Google Scholar
  29. Nicol DJ, Boyle JT (2003) Peer instruction versus class-wide discussion in large classes: a comparison of two interaction methods in the wired classroom. Stud High Educ 28(4):457–473. doi:10.1080/0307507032000122297 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Paschal CB (2002) Formative assessment in physiology teaching using a wireless classroom communication system. Adv Physiol Educ 26(4):299–308Google Scholar
  31. Pelton LF, Pelton T (2006) Selected and constructed response systems in mathematics. In: Banks DA (ed) Audience response systems in higher education. Information Science Publishing, Hershey, pp 175–186Google Scholar
  32. Penuel WR, Abrahamson L, Roschelle J (2006) Theorizing the transformed classroom: sociocultural interpretation of the effects of audience response systems in higher education. In: Banks DA (ed) Audience response systems in higher education. Information Science Publishing, Hershey, pp 187–208Google Scholar
  33. Pradhan A, Sparano D, Ananth CV (2005) The influence of an audience response system on knowledge retention: an application to resident education. Am J Obstet Gynecol 193(5):1827–1830. doi:10.1016/j.ajog.2005.07.075 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Preszler RW, Dawe A, Shuster CB, Shuster M (2007) Assessment of the effects of student response systems on student learning and attitudes over a broad range of biology courses. CBE Life Sci Educ 6(1):29–41. doi:10.1187/cbe.06-09-0190 Google Scholar
  35. Reay NW, Bao L, Li P, Warnakulasooriya R, Baugh G (2005) Toward the effective use of voting machines in physics lectures. Am J Phys 73(6):554–558. doi:10.1119/1.1862638 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Schackow TE, Milton C, Loya L, Friedman M (2004) Audience response system: effect on learning in family medicine residents. Fam Med 36:496–504Google Scholar
  37. Sharma MD, Khachan J, Chan B, O’Byrne J (2005) An investigation of the effectiveness of electronic classroom communication systems in large lectures. Australas J Educ Technol 21(2):137–154Google Scholar
  38. Siau K, Sheng H, Nah F (2006) Use of classroom response system to enhance classroom interactivity. IEEE Trans Educ 49(3):398–403. doi:10.1109/TE.2006.879802 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Simpson V, Oliver M (2007) Electronic voting systems for lectures then and now: a comparison of research and practice. Australas J Educ Technol 23(2):187–208Google Scholar
  40. Slain D, Abate M, Hidges BM, Stamatakis MK, Wolak S (2004) An interactive response system to promote active learning in the doctor of pharmacy curriculum. Am J Pharm Educ 68(5):1–9Google Scholar
  41. Stuart SAJ, Brown MI, Draper SW (2004) Using an electronic voting system in logic lectures: one practitioner’s application. J Comput Assist Learn 20(2):95–102. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2729.2004.00075.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Trees AR, Jackson MH (2007) The learning environment in clicker classrooms: student processes of learning and involvement in large university course using student response systems. Learn Med Technol 32(1):21–40. doi:10.1080/17439880601141179 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Uhari M, Renko M, Soini H (2003) Experiences of using an interactive audience response system in lectures. BMC Med Educ 3(12):1–6Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Ontario Institute of TechnologyOshawaCanada

Personalised recommendations