Using Classroom Response Systems to Enhance Teaching and Learning

Saturday, 28 October 2017

Cindy L. Farris, PhD
Department of Nursing, Indiana Purdue University Fort Wayne, Fort Wayne, IN, USA
Becky A. Salmon, MS
Nursing Department, Indiana University Purdue University, Fort Wayne, Fort Wayne, IN, USA

There are many reasons to add technology to the classroom setting. Nursing students are comfortable and have become more reliant on technology to communicate with instructors. Classroom response systems (CRS) and technology can often highlight key points better than readings and appeal to a variety of learning styles. Most of today’s nursing students are millennials and technology appeals to their learning characteristics. A nursing instructor can easily provide evidence-based information that is needed by nursing students to critically think and provide current information in the profession. CRS have been shown to enhance student learning.

Socrative is a form of a CRS to engage nursing students in the classroom. Socrative allows nursing students to answer questions quickly or in a slower teacher-paced mode. The webpage is internet accessible and may be used with a laptop, tablet, or smartphone. Socrative is a cost- effective way to allow for the CRS mode as older clicker devices can be very expensive to the institution or student. The basic version is free to instructors, but recently a newer version that has more advanced features is available for a yearly cost to the instructor.

Many benefits for nursing students’ have been identified such as: engagement of all learners, increased student involvement, and increase self-esteem. Nursing students are able to work independently and actively in small groups. Students are also allowed to utilize test-taking skills without feeling the anxiety of real testing. Results from literature review document that students who use CRS have higher course grades than those who do not use this technology.

Benefits for nursing educators include: formative evaluation of classroom learning, learner appropriate pace of information sharing and efficient use of classroom time.  Instructors who teach in a large classroom setting can involve all students, while easily recording individual results in an Excel spreadsheet to evaluate at a later date. Educators can utilize the CRS to clarify content that is not well understood. Instructors who use flipped classroom techniques could use Socrative at the beginning of the class to evaluate student preparedness.

 Socrative is an educational and user friendly tool to assess formative feedback. The range of allowed feedback on Socrative varies from simple true/false to more complex questions. Asking short answer questions at the beginning and during the class allows for an increase in critical thinking and clinical reasoning. Socrative permits the instructor to use select all that apply (SATA) questions, which assesses higher learning levels of comprehension that reflects the types of NCLEX-RN questions. Socrative allows for many different ways to engage the students in learning, while older CRS devices limited the responses to true or false or basic multiple choice.