Clicker workshops at Berkeley: Writing questions and effective facilitation

by Stephanie Chasteen on February 5, 2012

I did a workshop at UC Berkeley last week on the effective use of clickers, co-sponsored by the Physics, Chemistry, and IT departments.  We did a two part series:  The first workshop was on writing effective clicker questions, and the second on effective facilitation of clickers in the classroom.

The abstracts are below, and you can download Handouts from the session.  I’ve embedded the slides from each session at the bottom of the post.

I’ll be traveling to Pennsylvania, Oregon, West Virginia, and Chicago in upcoming months.  Invite me to your school to do a workshop!


Writing Great Clicker Questions

How does a teacher use questioning effectively?  This workshop will focus on writing those questions that engage students, spark their curiosity, help recap material, give you insight into their thinking, or help them learn critical ideas in your discipline.  We will focus on the use of clickers with “peer instruction” — a research-tested method of requiring students to discuss challenging questions with one another.  We will discuss how clickers can help facilitate this teaching strategy, investigate the surprising power of multiple-choice questions to achieve critical thinking skills, plus spend time discussing the elements of effective questions and practicing writing and improving questions for our classes.

Make Clickers Work for You:  Facilitation Tips & Techniques

So now you’ve got some great questions to use with clickers, but that’s no magic bullet.  What might go wrong, and how do we avoid common pitfalls?  How do we avoid just giving students the answer, or what if students are reluctant to discuss the questions? In this interactive workshop, we’ll explore research-based tips and ideas for questioning in a way that allow us to achieve the full benefit of clickers and peer instruction.  We’ll discuss common challenges, share tips on getting students to productively argue and reason through the questions, and ways to encourage all students to speak up in response to questions.  Time-depending, participants will also get a chance to practice aspects of teaching through questioning.


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