CU Berkeley Workshop #1: Writing Great Clicker Questions

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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.

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  • HAVE PEOPLE SIT BY DISCIPLINE
  • Who was at the previouis workshop?What is a learning goal?How would a clicker fit in with the learning goal?
  • How do you feel about asking students questions in class?How many times have you given a lecture and found that students hadn’t followed you?Can you rely on students to ask questions if they don’t understand something?Can you rely on students to know if they don’t understand something?So, what are the benefits of questioning?Why do you think people don’t question more?
  • During each section, ask people for examples of questions that they wrote that fall into this category. Give clicker booklet for responding.Point out the handout where each one is detailed more.
  • Model each one of these. What are some ways to ask questions? One is to ask rhetorically.Class, what’s another way to ask a question? Target the whole class.John, what’s another way? Target someone else.Are there other ways to ask a question? Let’s think about it. Target class: verbally, clickers, other waysTarget someone in particular: randomly, in seating order, call on particular personWait and then…. Call on volunteers, call on someone who hasn’t volunteered, answer own question
  • But we want to KNOW MORE about what is effective and how faculty are using it. After all (NEXT SLIDE), without data on effectiveness, we can’t make informed decisions about instructioal change.NSF has funded a lot of studies to develop methodologies and we know that they’re effective. But then we focus on dissemination, rather than secondary implementation and use in context. We do not well understand how to support materials and practices traveling between classroom settings.I am interested in how faculty try new things, like clickers, and make them work, and what I should be telling them are the essential features of peer instruction, or how to make it work for them.
  • Undergraduate biology majors Intro genetics.16 times. Isomorphic question, different “cover story” but same idea or topic. Q1 and Q2 randomly assigned. Reviewed by two independent reviewers.
  • During each section, ask people for examples of questions that they wrote that fall into this category. Give clicker booklet for responding.Point out the handout where each one is detailed more.
  • During each section, ask people for examples of questions that they wrote that fall into this category. Give clicker booklet for responding.Point out the handout where each one is detailed more.
  • Shop for ideas
  • Shop for ideas
  • Weigh advantages of covering more material against checking comprehension and actively involving students. It’s challenging. How a teacher does this determines how well it works. NO RESPONSE: Wait longer. Rephrase the question. Give a hint. Have students discuss. Call on someone. Leave unanswered. SAME PEOPLE: Someone other than X. Ask an easier question and call on new volunteer. Be alert to non-verbal cues. Make it clear that participation required. IF ANSWERS CALLED OUT: Ask it others agree. Ask for other answers. Ask students to think for a minute. Turn away to signal time for thought. Ask to write answers down. IF TAKE TOO LONG: Interrupt and summarize. Set boundaries and expectations. WRONG ANSWER: Break down question so others can see error. Ask for comments. Ask for other answers. Find merit in answer and explain why common mistake.
  • CU Berkeley Workshop #1: Writing Great Clicker Questions

    1. 1. Make Clickers Work for You WRITING GREAT CLICKER QUESTIONS Dr. Stephanie V. Chasteen Physics Department & Science Education Initiative Univ. of Colorado at Boulder http://colorado.edu/seiWeb and blog: http://sciencegeekgirl.comEmail: stephanie.chasteen@colorado.edu
    2. 2. What do you teach? Show of handsA. ScienceB. Engineering or MathC. Social sciencesD. HumanitiesE. Administration / faculty supportF. Other
    3. 3. Have you used response systems (clickers) in your teaching? Take a clicker & turn it on If the green light flashes, your vote has been countedA. Not at all, and I haven’t seen them usedB. Not at all, but I’ve observed their use somewhatC. I’ve used them a littleD. I’ve used them a lotE. I could be (should be?) giving this workshop
    4. 4. How familiar are you with Mazur’s “Peer Instruction” Colored cardsA. Fairly familiar, and I like itB. Fairly familiar, but I’m not sure that I like itC. I’ve heard of it but only have a vague idea what it isD. Not familiar at allE. Not sure
    5. 5. Introducing Me 5Science Education Initiative http://colorado.edu/SEI Applying scientific principles to improve science education – What are students learning, and which instructional approaches improve learning?Physics Education Research Group http://PER.colorado.edu One of largest PER groups in nation, studying technology, attitudes, classroom practice, & institutional change. Blogger http://blog.sciencegeekgirl.com
    6. 6. Why question? 8  How many times have you given a lecture and found that students hadn’t followed you?  Can you rely on students to ask questions if they don’t understand something?  Can you rely on students to know if they don’t understand something?  What are the benefits of questioning?Credit: Rosie Piller whiteboard
    7. 7. Agenda 101. When and how we can ask questions2. About clickers as a way to ask questions, including some common challenges3. Writing good questions. Example questions, writing our own.4. Action plan Learning goals: Participants will be able to…. A. Explain several benefits of questioning and of using clickers to question B. Defend the use of best practices in questioning to overcome common challenges C. Formulate and revise clicker questions to target student learning goals
    8. 8. Exercise #1: Question brainstorm 11 What questions could you ask to help students achieve your assigned learning goal -- to test mastery and stimulate learning? Brainstorm as a group 5 minutes whiteboard
    9. 9. When can we ask questions? 12 BEFORESetting up instruction DURING Motivate Developing knowledge Discover Predict outcome Check knowledge Provoke thinking Application Assess prior knowledge Analysis Evaluation Synthesis AFTER Relate to big picture Exercise skill Assessing Demonstrate success Elicit misconception learning Review or recap Exit poll Credit: Rosie Piller and Ian Beatty.
    10. 10. Some methods of asking questions 13  Ask rhetorically  Target the class (how?)  Target someone in particular (in what order?)  Wait and then… (call on whom?)  Answer your own question  Leave the question unanswered Or ask out of class  Blogs  Discussion boards  Homework…Credit: Rosie Piller
    11. 11. Why use clickers to target the class? An outline of Peer Instruction. 14
    12. 12. Anatomy of Peer Instruction 15 Ask Question…Lecture… (Maybe vote)Class Discussion Peer Discussion Vote * See also: Peer Instruction, A User’s Manual. E. Mazur.
    13. 13. Note: Grading for Formative Assessment Motivate students to participate, without stressing over the right answer We recommend extra credit for: •Mostly participation (eg., 2 points) •Some for correctness (eg., 1 point)A new research study (James & Willoughby, 2011) shows:Giving points for correctness creates less productive classroomconversations! See http://theactiveclass.com 16
    14. 14. Note: Timing / Groups 17◦ 2-5 questions spaced through an hour◦ Discussion with peers (usually nearest neighbors)
    15. 15. Questions about this process? 18 Ask Question…Lecture… (Maybe vote)Class Discussion Peer Discussion Vote * See also: Peer Instruction, A User’s Manual. E. Mazur.
    16. 16. Clickers are a tool for questioning 19 But not a magic bullet!
    17. 17. Peer instruction helps students learn 21Research shows that: Students can better answer a similar question after talking to their peers Peer discussion + instructor explanation works better than either one alone Do you want to see the Students like peer instruction, from intro to the details of some of this junior level research? A. Yes, cut back on other stuff Students in courses using peer instruction to the B. No, let’s just get outperform those in traditional lecturewriting the Q&A a question courses on C. I’d like to see it in common test portion afterwards See http://STEMclickers.colorado.edu for various references
    18. 18. How is a clicker question the same or different?* 26 * From other types of in-class questions Similar in terms of goals Multiple choice Anonymous (to peers) Every student has a voice – the loud ones and the shy ones Forced wait time You can withhold the answer until everyone has had time to think (choose when to show the histogram) What does this tool help us to do?
    19. 19. U. Colorado clicker resources… 27Videos of effective use of clickers 2-5 mins long http://STEMvideos.colorado.eduClicker resource page http://STEMclickers.colorado.edu • Instructor’s Guide • Question banks • Workshops • Literature / Articles
    20. 20. Which of these could be clicker questions? 28 BEFORESetting up instruction DURING Motivate Developing knowledge Discover Predict outcome Check knowledge Provoke thinking Application Assess prior knowledge Analysis Evaluation Synthesis AFTER Relate to big picture Exercise skill Assessing Demonstrate success Elicit misconception learning Review or recap Exit poll Credit: Rosie Piller and Ian Beatty.
    21. 21. Let’s try it.I think that the toughest thing about using clickers andpeer instruction must be:A. Writing good questionsB. Getting students to engage with the questionsC. Getting students to share their answers with the whole class / the same students always shareD. It takes too long for me to learn to do thisE. I have a lot of content to cover, it takes too much class time
    22. 22. A science-related example… 30Which superpower would yourather have? The ability to… A. Change the mass of things B. Change the charge of things C. Change the magnetization of things D. Change the boiling point of things 30 Question: Ian Beatty, UNC Greensboro Image: Thibaultfr on Wikimedia
    23. 23. Example question: MathYour sister in law calls to say that she’s having twins. Which of the following is the most likely? (Assume she’s having fraternal, not identical, twins)A. Twin boysB. Twin girlsC. One girl and one boyD. All are equally likely 31Derek Bruff, Vanderbilt
    24. 24. Example Question: Survey 32Which of the following are you least comfortable using to solve problems?A. KinematicsB. Newton’s LawsC. Work-Energy TheoremD. Momentum-Impulse TheoremE. Angular Momentum-Angular Impulse Theorem Ian Beatty, UMass Amherst
    25. 25. Two things to pay attention to in your questions What is the goal of my question? What am I trying to accomplish? Is my question at the right level / variety of depth?
    26. 26. Question goals 34 BEFORESetting up instruction DURING Motivate Developing knowledge Discover Predict outcome Check knowledge Provoke thinking Application Assess prior knowledge Analysis Evaluation Synthesis AFTER Relate to big picture Exercise skill Assessing Demonstrate success Elicit misconception learning Review or recap Exit poll Credit: Rosie Piller and Ian Beatty.
    27. 27. Question Writing Depth Very useful 91% N=4 courses, 35% 66 Useful 36% students 18% Somewhat useful Types of clicker questions: Mostly Challenging conceptual useless Recalling a previous factCompletely useless Recalling a recent fact Plugging numbers into equation % of students 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% COLTT CU 2009
    28. 28. But how do we increase the depth of questioning? 36
    29. 29. Question Writing Depth: Bloom’s Taxonomy 37 Handout: Handout with handy verbs and Bloom’s Taxonomy question stems for different levels, e.g.:  UNDERSTAND: match, paraphrase, restate  APPLY: choose, explain, show  ANALYZE: compare, classify, categorize  EVALUATE: judge, criticize, defend  SYNTHESIS: combine, develop, design
    30. 30. Preparing to Write QuestionsRead briefly over the “tips for writing clicker questions” handout.Which is going to be most challenging for you?Which would you tell a colleague about? 3 minutes
    31. 31. Preparing to Write Questions In groups of 2-3, choose one of the questions that you brainstormed at the beginning of the workshop. You will write a multiple choice version of this question. 3 minutes
    32. 32. Gallery Walk As a table, look at the “example questions” trio that I have given you. What’s a common theme(s)? Write the themes you find down on the sheet so that other groups will be able to read it. After 5 minutes, circulate to see the themes of questions on other tables. Shop for ideas for your own questions! See handouts for a place to jot your notes. 10 minutes
    33. 33. Gallery Walk: Report Out What was the theme of your question trio? When would you use such a type of question?
    34. 34. Exercise #3: Writing Questions 42 Using ideas you’ve learned, write a multiple choice version of your question in groups of 2-3. Show your question to another group (and to me) for suggestions on revising it. If you have time, write another question from another part of the questioning cycle. 10 minutes
    35. 35. Share-Out about Question Writing What was challenging? What worked well for you? What questions or concerns do you have about writing questions? How might you write questions that integrate with your lectures?
    36. 36. This workshop can’t do it all 44 There are great books to read Pair up with other instructors I give free webinars (see iclicker.com) Next workshop, 4:30-6:00, Weds Feb 1st. (4:00-4:30 refresher course for new folks) Making Clickers Work for You: Facilitation I.e., taking off the rose-colored glasses. What goes wrong? How can this technique work best? BRING YOUR HANDOUTS!
    37. 37. Action Plan 45 Take a few minutes to write down your action plan to implement ideas you heard about in the workshop
    38. 38. Thanks! Resource Page: http://STEMclickers.colorado.edu Web and blog: http://sciencegeekgirl.com Email: stephanie@sciencegeekgirl.com Many materials in this workshop (particularly the questioning cycle and the participant exercises) were adapted fromRosie Piller, Making Students Think: The Art of Questioning. Short papers published in: Computer Training & Support Conference, 1995; ISPI International Conferences, 1991 and 1996; ASTD National Conference on Technical & Skills Training, 1990. Related workshop description at http://www.educationexperts.net/nstworkshop.html. Other materials (particularly sample clicker questions and goals of clicker questions) adapted from Ian Beatty’s Technology Enhanced Formative Assessment (TEFA) program. http://ianbeatty.com/crs NOW: Q&A, continued work on questions and revision, individual consultations. NEXT WEEK, 4:30-6pm – Facilitation Tips & Techniques
    39. 39. Learning Goals Biology: Recognize the components of a cell and describe why each is necessary for the function of a cell Physics: Identify the different ways that light can interact with an object (i.e., transmitted, absorbed, reflected). Chemistry: Explain trends in boiling points in terms of intermolecular interactions Earth science: Understand the formation of the three major types of rocks (igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic) and the processes by which they form, relating them by the rock cycle. Math: Solve a system of linear equations in two variables using algebra or graphing.
    40. 40. What Do I do if…? 48What can you do if you ask questions and.. There is no response The same people keep raising their hands The answers are called out before everyone has a chance to think We’ll discuss in The answers take too long Workshop #2. For now: Many of Someone gives a wrong answer these challenges are Only some students are prepared addressed by clickers?

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