Using classroom communication systems to support interaction and discussion in large class settings
Teaching methods that promote interaction and discussion are known to benefit learning. However, large class sizes make it difficult to implement these methods. Research from the United States has shown that an electronic classroom communication system (CCS) can be used to support active discussion in large lecture classes. This investigation extends that research and it evaluates students' and teachers' experiences of CCS technology in the context of two different modes of discussion — peer-group and classwide discussion. With CCS technology, students' answers to multiple-choice concept tests are collated in real time with the class results fed back as a histogram. This information serves as the trigger for each mode of discussion. This paper explores the unique contribution of CCS technology, the relative strengths of peer- and class-wide discussion and some practical implementation issues.