Authors: Dr. Karen McCloskey
Learner response systems, or ‘clickers’ have been widely used in large science classes, but are just now finding their way into smaller classes and more specifically into second language classes.
Aims and methods: This paper represents the findings of a pilot project undertaken to determine whether clicker technology use can enhance language acquisition in our French language classrooms. I demonstrate the methodology used to help students distinguish between the passé composé and imparfait tenses by employing clicker technology during a 90-minute lecture.
Results: Our sample size is too small to draw empirical conclusions about whether clickers alone improve grades, but subjectively there was a clear improvement in the classroom dynamic when using the clicker technology. The students were engaged and enjoyed the immediate feedback and resulting peer interaction. The instant feedback also enabled the professor to recognize and address a grammatical confusion in real time.
This study demonstrates that more experimentation with clicker technology is warranted in the second-language classroom.
Keywords: clickers, personal response systems, student opinion, undergraduate, second-language, French, technology