What are Clickers?
Clickers are a type of audience response system that allows teachers to ask questions and students to respond using a simple remote control. A number of departments use clickers in their classes at Swarthmore, including Biology, Computer Science, Chemistry, Engineering, Math/Stat, Physics, and Psychology.
We use the iClicker brand response system. Most departments use either the original iClicker or the iClicker+, which has the same functionality in a smaller package. The iClicker base station works with all types of iClickers.
It is also possible to use a smartphone to respond, but there is a subscription fee and many faculty prefer students not use their phones in class.
Instructor remotes let teachers start and stop the polling, show and hide the results graph, and switch presentation slides. Some models have built-in laser pointers.
iClicker base stations are placed in classrooms in which instructors use clickers. They are usually kept in a drawer or cabinet near the A/V system. Classroom and Conferencing Technology (CCT, formerly Media Services) has an extra base station and remote control in case there is a problem with the equipment in the classroom. Faculty interested in using clickers should contact CCT to arrange for a base station and clickers to be provisioned for the classroom.
You can download the iClicker software from the iClicker website. It is free to download.
The iClicker software is also installed on all classroom computers. See below for an important note about using the software on classroom computers.
- Connect the iClicker base station to the computer with the USB cable.
- Hand out the clickers to students (if needed).
- Start the iClicker software. If this is your first time using the software, you will be prompted to create a class. After creating the class, you can start a new session.
If using a classroom computer
If you are using a classroom computer, you will need to copy the iClicker software from the Applications folder to your Documents folder. You can do this by opening the Applications folder, clicking on the iClicker Folder, going to Edit Menu → Copy, then go to the Documents folder and select Edit Menu → Paste. Then run the program from your Documents folder every time.
This has to be done because the iClicker software stores all the information about your course within the iClicker folder and users don't have write access to the Applications folder.
You can pair the instructor remote with the iClicker software by going to the iClicker settings and entering the serial number of the instructor remote (on the back) in the appropriate box. This will allow the instructor remote to control the iClicker software.
Lots of clicker resources, including a PDF guide and short videos at Carl Wieman Science Education Initiative at the University of British Columbia.
Base station firmware needs to be updated
If you use a new version of the iClicker software with an old iClicker base station you may receive an error that the iClicker base station firmware needs to be updated in order to work properly with the software. Contact ITS for help (firstname.lastname@example.org) or use the iClicker firmware update utility from their Tools and Utilities page.
Can't create a new course in the iClicker software
If you are using a classroom computer, you need to run the software from your user folder instead of the Applications folder because of a permissions issue. Copy the iClicker folder from the Applications folder to your Documents folder and run the program from your Documents folder. When you make a copy, make sure that you are making an actual copy and not creating a shortcut.
There is a problem with a base station or the base station is missing from the classroom
Classroom and Conferencing Technology has an extra base station and instructor remote in case there is a problem with a base station.
iClicker has a support site located at http://support.iclicker.com/ where you can view FAQ's or download the iClicker software User Guide. You can also contact the ITS Help Desk with any questions.
Some clickers have dead batteries but the "low battery" red LED doesn't come on. The clickers power up normally but then turn off when one of the voting buttons is pressed. iClicker support says to replace the batteries. We were able to get an explanation for why the low battery light doesn't come on from iClicker Support: