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Teaching with Classroom Response Systems: Creating Active Learning Environments 1st Edition

4.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0470288931
ISBN-10: 0470288930
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Editorial Reviews


“Good teachers constantly look for ways to improve instruction. Bruff, Assistant Director of the Vanderbilt University Center for Teaching, surveys how classroom response systems, commonly known as “clicker technology,” can improve teaching and learning.

Bruff supplements his points on engagement and assessment with a classified array of clicker questions for a variety of teaching contexts. He also provides helpful advice on teaching choices with response systems: when to grade clicker questions, how to use them for summative assessment, and how to address cheating and lack of participation. He provides additional helpful suggestions on dealing with logistical issues such as system choice and troubleshooting. Throughout, the reader benefits from the copious examples gleaned from teachers.

This book convincingly demonstrates that clicker technology allows teachers and students to adapt quickly to emerging learning needs….Bruff’s work is an enthusiastic, accessible, and detailed introduction for all educators interested in this popular educational technology tool.”

NACADA Journal, Issue 30(1) (Spring 2010)


“Dr. Bruff’s thoughtful description of effective practices with clickers, based on numerous interviews with higher education instructors, both reinforces and extends the knowledge base on response system use in higher education. The emphasis on pedagogical approaches will make this book useful and relevant for years to come, even as the technologies themselves evolve. In fact, as small wireless devices become ubiquitous, this book will only grow in importance.

Dr. Bruff’s prior work has been very influential in the development of San Diego State’s clicker program, and this book will be an essential resource for our instructors and the instructional support staff who work with them. Dr. Bruff thoroughly describes the pedagogies associated with effective clicker usage. I believe any interested instructor will find actionable ideas to benefit student learning.

Dr. Bruff has been a strong advocate of active learning with response systems in higher education. This book provides both breadth and depth in its descriptive treatment of pedagogical approaches to clicker use derived through dozens of interviews of postsecondary instructors. This work will be highly beneficial to faculty seeking to enhance learning, regardless of the technical details of the response system they use.

At SDSU, instructors become interested in clicker use based largely on the experiences and examples of their peers. Through case studies across numerous disciplines, Dr. Bruff’s book takes a similar approach which should prove accessible and useful for many faculty. Instructors already using response systems will also find much here to further improve the classroom learning environment.”

--Jim Julius, Associate Director, Instructional Technology Services, San Diego State University


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 1 edition (February 17, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470288930
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470288931
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,059,251 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Derek Bruff is director of the Vanderbilt University Center for Teaching and a senior lecturer in the Vanderbilt Department of Mathematics. Bruff consults regularly with faculty in a variety of disciplines about educational technology and other teaching and learning topics. Bruff's research interests include classroom response systems ("clickers"), visual thinking, student motivation, and social pedagogies. He blogs on these topics at derekbruff.org, and his book, Teaching with Classroom Response Systems: Creating Active Learning Environments, was published by Jossey-Bass in 2009. Bruff has taught at Harvard University and has a PhD in mathematics from Vanderbilt University.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I learned about this book by reading Derek Bruff's excellent blog of the same name. When I decided to take the plunge to using a classroom response system (CRS or "clickers") in my introductory mathematics course, I sought out this book first. I'm very glad that I read the book and recommend that anyone new to teaching with a CRS peruse it.

Bruff gives a great overview of the most important areas of using clickers in a variety of college courses. His personal experiences and information from the published literature are augmented with examples from the many, many interviews he conducted when writing the book. The interview subjects cover many disciplines, and Bruff does an excellent job of helping readers from all disciplines find a take-away from each example. By reading this book, I picked up new ideas about how to use clickers in my course and also found myself re-evaluating my early thoughts on how I would use them.

The book does a nice job of discussing common questions instructors have about incorporating clickers (How much class time does it take? What do I do with all my content?) that will be of greatest interest to those considering clickers but who haven't yet decided if they really want to use them. However, it is also very useful to those who have decided they are definitely using clickers but aren't sure exactly how they will be incorporated. Bruff's discussion of the pros and cons of various methods of grading for clicker questions was particularly informative and based on both the literature and his interviews. I consider this a must-read part for anyone new to using clickers in their courses.
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By Ted on September 27, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This text is especially good for instructors with little or no experience using clickers. It is less valuble for those with clicker experience. With that said, I would still recommend reading for users of all levels of experience. It is an easy read.
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Format: Paperback
I wish I could give a copy of this book to every graduate student who is planning to make a career out of teaching at the college and university level. This book makes a persuasive case as to why classroom response systems -- clickers -- can be such a powerful teaching tool, then discusses the nuts and bolts of exactly how it can be done, and the choices that are available to the instructor. This book clearly shows how clickers can create a revolution in the classroom, because they allow every single student in the entire class to take an active role and to participate in the lesson. Clickers provide feedback, which is incredibly valuable of course, but importantly Bruff shows that it is the interactivity which can truly improve student learning during class. Bruff not only draws on his own considerable experience in using clickers in his own classroom, he also presents dozens of examples of how instructors in different disciplines have used clickers to get their students involved in the lesson, to get them to engage, to participate, to take sides, to discuss, and to learn in active ways.

The first reaction of most faculty to this teaching method is to object: But how do you teach all the necessary topics? How can you cover all the subjects that must be taught, and still include all this clicker-discussion stuff too? Bruff deals with this challenge head-on, presenting a variety of proven strategies from experienced instructors which can structure class time and to use it more efficiently.

Bruff's energy and enthusiasm for teaching are infectious, making this book a delight to read. I wish I could send every professor in the country to a seminar with Bruff, so that he could walk them through this book, showing them how teaching with classroom response systems can powerfully transform their teaching for the better.
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Format: Paperback
Teaching with Classroom Response Systems provides an intriguing look into how technology can be used in the classroom.

Dr. Derek Bruff's fascinating research into this state-of-the art form of technology will enlighten educators from every discipline to take a deep look into how this assessment system can be used to increase retention of course material and improve recall of concepts during examinations.
As a higher education professional, I strongly encourage educators from every discipline to adopt some of the ideas from this book to increase retention of curriculum materials and improve examination scores.
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