Educational Technology Services
About Us
Technology Tools
Working with Media
Connect and Collaborate
Help in the Classroom
Technology Tools

Personal Response Systems

Digital Response System or Personal Response System (clickers) refers to an electronic means of giving answers at a meeting or in the classroom. Participants use a handheld device to “click” and give their response to the presenter’s questions. Alternative methods include responding via a website on the participant’s laptop or using smartphones and other mobile devices.

At Smith, instructors are:
--using clickers as a test for how well class materials are being understood,
--adjusting and modifying teaching based on their students' responses in eal-time,
--using a PRS for attaining consensus,
--finding that anonymous polling can help some students to be more responsive and active in a public setting and that student participation overall increases.

Who is using digital response systems?

Italian, Arabic, Physics, SSW, Biology, Chemistry

What does the literature say?
1. Participants (students or faculty in meetings) are more attentive.
2. Decisionmaking happens more speedily.
3. There is greatly increased retention of the material. See:
MacArthur, J. R., & Jones, L. L. (2008). A review of literature reports of clickers applicable to college chemistry classrooms. Chemistry Education Research and Practice, 9, 187-195.

Hodges, L. (2010). Engaging students, assessing learning: Just a click away. Essays on Teaching Excellence, 21(3).

Bruff, D. (2010). Multiple-choice questions you wouldn’t put on a test: Promoting deep learning using clickers. Essays on Teaching Excellence, 21(3).

Bruff, D. (2009). Teaching with classroom response systems: Creating active learning environments. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

How can I examine a digital response system for myself?
Clickers are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Email Steve Davis,, as early as possible and provide him with the number of students in your course. For alternative digital response solutions contact Deborah Keisch Polin,