New cloud SRS technology has big classroom potential—here’s why

Cloud-based SRS tech relieves financial headaches, but has it’s own share of worries, say faculty and students

SRS-clicker-studentClickers, once the popular ‘it’ classroom tech tool, have come under scrutiny from cash-strapped students required to pay for these sporadically used devices. Now, say students and faculty, it’s all about a web SRS—and for a good reason.

With textbook prices constantly on the rise, the students say the last thing they want to invest in are more classroom materials; clickers being one of these many materials required for lecture participation on campuses today. These Student Response Systems (SRS) allow students to actively participate in lecture presentations by submitting responses to class-wide questions using hand-held devices.

The pros of clickers, up until recently, have been their ability to allow instructors to initiate, receive and accurately process student participation during lectures in a fast and effective way. For example, in a study conducted on the University of Wisconsin System Project, researchers Robert Kaleta and Tanya Joosten found that the use of classroom clickers improve attentiveness and student engagement in the classroom, since students do not feel the same pressure submitting a response via clicker compared to raising their hand in a lecture hall.

The biggest cons of in-class clickers, is cost. On average, clickers can run anywhere from $30-$50, from used to new. Already having to pay tuition and textbook costs, students say they often find it hard to understand the value of yet another purchase for a piece of equipment for classes that are rarely used, despite the potential benefits.

“Out of four years at Maryland, I only used my clicker twice—so it doesn’t make it worth the price,” senior family science major at the University of Maryland, College Park, Nandi McCammon said.

Enter the new web-based SRS…

(Next page: The next step in clicker technology; pros & cons)