Clickers or Flashcards: Is There Really a Difference?


A growing number of physics teachers are currently turning to instructional technologies such as wireless handheld response systemscolloquially called clickers. Two possible rationales may explain the growing interest in these devices. The first is the presumption that clickers are more effective instructional instruments. The second rationale is somewhat reminiscent of Martin Davis' declaration when purchasing the Oakland Athletics: As men get older, the toys get more expensive. Although personally motivated by both of these rationales, the effectiveness of clickers over inexpensive low-tech flashcards remains questionable. Thus, the first half of this paper presents findings of a classroom study comparing the differences in student learning between a Peer Instruction group using clickers and a Peer Instruction group using flashcards. Having assessed student learning differences, the second half of the paper describes differences in teaching effectiveness between clickers and flashcards.
Last updated on 07/24/2019