"The clickers are part of an increasingly popular technology known as an audience response system, which has been used for everything from surveying game show audiences to polling registered voters. That technology is now spreading to public and private schools across the country.
The Los Angeles school district has spent about $503,000 to buy clickers for more than two dozen middle schools since 2005, district officials said. Smaller districts in the Dallas and Atlanta suburbs have also invested in them, according to school officials and companies that manufacture the devices. In New York City, a dozen schools across the five boroughs have experimented with the devices. And in St. Paul, the clickers are routinely used to train teachers and administrators and to get reaction from parents at community meetings."(Reaction from parents at community meetings? Heresay!)
I had heard about these years ago from people in the Computer Science and Engineering Department at UW where they prototyped them. From the article:
"In a typical system, the clickers record data from individuals, and transmit that information, through wireless technology, to a computer program. The program can instantly display the results, tally them and present them in elaborate spreadsheets and eye-catching graphics like spaceships or “Jeopardy!”-style boards. It can track the percentage of correct answers received for each question as well as the participation rate among all users."
I had read survey results from UW about the usage and students liked them because everyone got to give input (not just the bright and the eager beavers), it could be done anonymously (so no one has to be embarrassed about being wrong) and the professors could see, instantly, where thinking might be going astray and course correct their teaching.
It might be a better investment than Smart boards which teachers don't always use anyway and the light bulbs for them cost $400.