[LON-CAPA-cvs] cvs: modules /gerd/roleclicker summary.tex

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Peer Instruction has been around for almost 15 years; its effect has been well-researched, and the techniques have found broad adoption, particularly in science teaching. As part of the classroom activities, the instructor would 
present a question (typically multiple-choice style), and students are asked to respond individually (through hand signs, colored cards, 
or technological means such as Personal Response Systems (PRSs, ``clickers'')).
Based on the initial response distribution, the educator might decide to follow up with a second round of having the learners
discuss the problem with each other (``think-pair-share''), and then responding again.

At the heart of Peer Instruction are student-student discussions.
However, a formal research study of the discussion process itself has not been carried out -- is it as effective as it could be? 

\noindent - what happens in groups where all partners agree?
\newline - are post-discussion responses better simply because stronger students dominate the discussion?
\newline - are disinterested students profiting from the discussions?

We believe that the current ``clickers'' are a transient technology, and that the next generation communication devices will open up new avenues for personal responses and Peer Instruction, and be an enabling tool for new pedagogies 
-- pedagogies we aim to explore today, while at same time, we are offering a phased transition path to both early and late adapters of current classroom technology.
We aim to research the educational effects of the following technology-mediated extensions of peer-teaching practice:

\noindent{\it Computer-Guided Group Formation} - In computer-guided group formation, the computer will be forming the groups based on the initial learner responses, and ensure that within the constraints of the lecture hall seating arrangement, groups with a diversity of initial opinions are formed.  
\newline{\it Different Question Types} - More sophisticated response devices allow for the deployment of more sophisticated question types, such as image-response, mix-and-match, multiple-response multiple-choice and open-ended numerical/symbolic math questions.
\newline{\it Randomized Questions} - More sophisticated response devices allow for randomizing scenarios just enough such that students can discuss the same underlying principle, yet still need to draw their own conclusions and arrive at their own solutions.

The proposed project has three phases:

\noindent 1. Formal analysis of peer-discussion behavior using currently available techniques, in parallel with systems and content integration
\newline 2. Introduction of technology-mediated extensions to the current techniques and analysis of their impact on discussion behavior 
and traditional outcome measures
\newline 3. Commoditizing and dissemination of successful techniques

We will focus on physics content, where a broad research base on existing techniques already exists, and where research-based content for peer-teaching using current techniques is readily available. We will work with undergraduate students in introductory algebra- and calculus-based physics courses at a spectrum of institutions.

{\it Intellectual Merit:}
Peer Instruction has proven successful in outcome-oriented evaluations; in its first phase,
this project will add process-oriented data to the research body. In its second phase, the project will extend and enhance the Peer Instruction technique through advanced technological means, and assess the impact of these
modifications, both in outcome and process. 

{\it Broader Impact:} This project has a broader impact potential, because, like many of the other efforts in Physics Education Research (PER), it is carried out within regular college
venues.  The three  participating institutions, an ivy league school, a large state university, and a small liberal arts college, host different student 
populations and offer different teaching environments. This allows to study a wide and diverse range of educational settings. All developed software is open-source and will be made freely available.