Leveraging technology to enhance evidence-based pedagogy: A case study of Peer Instruction in Norway


Peer Instruction (PI) is a research-based instructional strategy developed by Eric Mazur at Harvard University in the 1990s. Instructors across the disciplines, in every institutional type, and in classrooms throughout the world have adopted PI. The method relies on classroom response systems (CRSs) – or systems which allow instructors to collect student responses to questions. While PI can be and often is implemented using low-tech CRSs (e.g. flashcards), it is enhanced when paired with higher-tech tools (e.g. clickers). In this paper, we address the following research problem: Moving from flashcards to clickers in PI has advantages, however there is a lack of clarity about the practical aspects of this transition for individual instructors. We pose the following research questions: What is involved in the transition from a low-tech CRS (e.g. flashcards) to a high- tech CRS (e.g. clickers) for the instructor and students in a PI environment? What are student perceptions about the value of using clickers when they have previously used flashcards? What are the instructor perceptions of the value of using clickers when she has previously used flashcards? The purpose of this paper is to address the research problem and questions by presenting a case study of one instructor’s transition from flashcards to clickers in one university classroom. The paper also provides recommendations for instructors wishing to implement clickers to improve ease of implementation. We found that the transition from flashcards to clickers involves primarily familiarizing the instructor and students with the new technology. We also found that both students and the instructor prefer clickers to flashcards. Most importantly, we found that of the pre-service teachers in our sample (N=21) who filled out post- course surveys (n=19), 95% indicated that they intend to use PI, versus more traditional approaches, in their own teaching.** NOTE THIS IS A CORRECTION TO THE ABSTRACT IN THE PUBLISHED PAPER.
Last updated on 07/24/2019