Category archives for Clicker questions

Why Flipped Classrooms Fail

“I tried Peer Instruction and it didn’t work.”   As a champion of the popular flipped learning method developed by Eric Mazur, this phrase always hits me hard when I hear it from fellow educators. And I do hear it. Over the years, I’ve run into many different accounts of experiments in innovative teaching and flipped […]

3 ways to write effective questions

Ever wonder how to write Peer Instruction, clicker questions, or ConcepTests, or other item types that capture students attention in ways that help you share the wonderful world of the subject matter you are teaching? Check out my new post, “3 Tips for Teaching – Great Question Writing” on Teach.com to get 3 ideas for writing effective questions […]

Can you use Peer Instruction with just one concept?

Can you use Peer Instruction with just one concept? A biochemistry professor from Taibah University in Saudi Arabia raised this question during a recent virtual Peer Instruction training Professor Mazur and I worked on for 30 faculty. This question, in various forms, comes up often among teachers trying to innovate in their classrooms across the globe. […]

What is Peer Instruction…in 2 mins

In this post, I give a 2ish minute video primer on Peer Instruction and how to implement it with fidelity. The video has about 50 seconds of preamble and closing for 2.56 minutes total. This basic introduction includes a handful of quick tips for avoiding common pitfalls. Some key ideas introduced in the video for which […]

3 easy ways to use clickers and Peer Instruction in the Arts and Humanities

On June 3, 2013 I sat in a room at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany at a Turning Technologies User Conference.  The room was quiet as we listened to Christopher Wiley, the Director of Undergraduate Studies at the City University London and expert in musicology, explain how an off the cuff decision to use classroom […]

8 tips for transitioning to clickers when flipping your class with Peer Instruction

In a 2008 paper, physicist and former Mazur postdoctoral fellow, Nathaniel Lasry demonstrated a surprising result from a study on classroom response systems (CRS) in a Peer Instruction (PI) environment. Lasry’s result? Despite the rapid scaling of high-tech CRS, such as clickers, their use in his undergraduate physics classroom did not seem to influence learning outcomes over less-techy alternatives, such […]

Learn to do something innovative inside your flipped classroom

“If you wanted to create an education environment that was directly opposed to what the brain was good at doing, you probably would design something like a classroom.” John Medina, Brain Rules In a flip class, educators have dedicated a lot of attention and valiant effort to redesigning approaches to direct classroom instruction (e.g. lecture) […]

A simple out-of-class assignment that could have big pay off in a flipped class

Peer Instruction Network member Claire, a K-12 English teacher from Michigan, worries that far too many of her students are falling through the cracks.  She is looking for ways to reach them.  Could student-generated questions be one possible low-threshold intervention?  This post digs into this question.  However, if you are looking for a quick protocol for student-generated questions, […]

Quick Start Guide to Flipping your Classroom with Peer Instruction

Ready to turn your students’ worlds right side up? Flip your classroom with Peer Instruction. Peer Instruction is the first innovative teaching method I tried the second time teaching my “big girl” course – a graduate level seminar on educational theory at Teachers College, Columbia University.   I had been working as a postdoc with Eric […]

100+ Quick Tips for Flipping Your Class

Flipped Tips: A Daily Tip Series on Teaching and Learning focused on Flipped Classrooms and Peer Instruction  Turn to Your Neighbor features quick, practical advice and ideas, in 140 characters or less, for flipping your class.   On this page, you can find a selection of those tips categorized. Tips are posted on Twitter daily using […]

Turn to Your Neighbor Turns 30,000 and Launches #flippedtip Series

A very big THANK YOU to all of our readers and members of the Peer Instruction Network! Turn to Your Neighbor was born on February 25, 2012. And today, we turned 30,000 hits old. Top Three Turn to Your Neighbor Posts The top three TTYN posts discuss flipped implementation with tips for promoting both out-of […]

How to measure if your students are learning in a flipped class

Peer Instruction Network member and Queens University Professor James M. Fraser  has been flipping his undergraduate physics classroom using Peer Instruction for many years. For his “outstanding knowledge, teaching ability and accessibility to students,” Fraser was awarded the 2012 Queens University Alumni Award for Excellence in Teaching. Fraser talks to Turn to Your Neighbor readers about using his training as […]

What to do on the first day of a flipped class?

School starts in two weeks! For Peer Instruction Network member Rafael Escudero, a professor of mathematics at Universidad del Norte in Baranquilla, Colombia, this reality hit four weeks early. Escudero is one in a small group of innovative faculty transforming their courses at Uninorte under the leadership of Peer Instruction Network member and founding director […]

How to use Peer Instruction…in Computer Science

The image of 25 lone kids with oversized, over-the-ear headphones eschew on their heads, eyes fixed and minds fixated on their computer screens, does not accurately depict today’s computer science classrooms. There is new, and significant, reform movement afoot in computer science that aims to build deep conceptual understanding of big ideas and key computer […]

How do you group students for productive conversations?

While lecture is still the mainstay in most classrooms, many instructors across the disciplines are onto the power of peer-to-peer learning. The typical cue for students to engage in peer discussion is usually something like, “get into groups of two or three and discuss” or specifically in Peer Instruction the prompt is, “Turn to Your […]

How do I get started with Peer Instruction? Part 1

One of the most common questions about Peer Instruction is “How do I get started?” This week, Peer Instruction Network member and mathematics instructor, Brian Lukoff, writes about a tool he has developed to help users get started writing questions.  by Brian Lukoff Postdoctoral Fellow, Mazur Group at Harvard University and Developer of Learning Catalytics […]

Choreography of a flipped classroom

How do flipped classrooms work? In a previous post, we wrote about a research-based strategy, Just-in-Time-Teaching, for motivating students to do the work of content coverage out of class. But, what happens in class? Peer Instruction (PI) is the researched-based method we use for targeting depth and uncovering misconceptions and misunderstandings during class. Peer Instruction Network  member Bernado, who teaches Marketing in […]

Does Peer Instruction Work in High Schools? Part 2

Last week, we heard from Peer Instruction Network member, Ryan Campbell, who teaches high school history using Peer Instruction. This is the second part in his 2-part series on how to adapt PI for use in high school settings.  The Ten Non-Commandments for adapting Peer Instruction to the high school setting: Part 2 in a […]

Does Peer Instruction Work in High Schools?

Post by Ryan Campbell with an introduction by Julie Schell, June 2012  Many Peer Instruction Network members wonder if PI works in high schools and how. For example, Andrew from Tomball, Texas wants to know – What does PI look like in high schools and member Janet from Falls Church, Virginia asks, how can PI  be well-integrated in high […]

Confessions of a Peer Instruction Rookie

This week we have a guest Blog post from Peer Instruction Network Member, Dr. Cassandre Alvarado. Turn to Your Neighbor readers will recognize her name  – we have been following Dr. Alvarado this semester, as she taught a graduate education class at The University of Texas at Austin using Peer Instruction for the first time. […]

What is exactly is a ConcepTest?

The centerpiece of Peer Instruction is the ConcepTest, sometimes referred to as a clicker question, other times simply as a question. ConcepTests, however, are more than mere questions. They are the fire, so to speak, that draws students’ attention and calls the students together to engage in the social learning activities that make Peer Instruction […]

How do you manage time in a flipped class?

Peer Instruction Network member (PINm) Arthur, who teaches intro physics at UMass Lowell asks, “what percent of the class time should be used for Peer Instruction?” And network member Mary who teaches nursing at Cayuga Community College asks “is there a specific time frame you find best for question/answer discussions?” How to manage time during […]

How to write and evaluate effective questions: Best Practices in Peer Instruction

One of the most frequently asked questions among Peer Instruction Network members (PINm) is “How do I write good questions?” This ubiquitous question is posed across the spectrum of Peer Instruction implementations – from expert to novice users, from faculty to instructional designers, among different disciplines, and within varying institutional types. PINms David Vakil an […]