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Wednesday, December 9 • 2:30pm - 3:00pm
Using a Classroom Response System in the Spanish Classroom: Instructor and Student Experiences

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Classroom response systems (CRS, such as iClickers) are widely recognized as tools that increase attendance and participation and promote active learning in the classroom (Graham et al., 2007; Heaslip, Donovan& Cullen, 2014). CRS are largely associated with large lecture classes in the sciences and are currently underutilized in second language instruction (Cardoso, 2011; McCloskey, 2012; Serafini, 2013). To address an increased enrolment cap of 100 students in each of 7 lecture sections in 2015-2016, the Department of Spanish and Portuguese is piloting the use of a CRS (TopHat) in its first-year language course (SPA100Y). It is anticipated that this will:

  • increase student attendance and class preparation.
  • increase student participation in individual and group classroom learning activities. 
  • improve classroom management (attendance and participation monitoring)

The success of CRS use will be examined from both the learner’s and the instructor’s perspective. Their experiences are examined through (i) an anonymous survey administered to the students and (ii) open-ended oral interviews conducted with the 4 course instructors. Both groups will respond to questions regarding their perception of the effectiveness of CRS use on student learning, engagement, attendance and participation. The instructors will also evaluate whether the benefits of CRS use outweigh any additional training and increased preparation time required. The students will comment on the cost of purchasing CRS access.

This paper presents results from the initial surveys and interviews to be conducted in November, 2015 and includes an interactive presentation of TopHat where participants try out some of the available question types.


Cardoso, W. (2011). Learning a foreign language with a learner response system: The students' perspective. Computer Assisted Language Learning, 24(5), 393-417.

Graham, C.R., Tripp, T.R., Seawright, L., & Joeckel, G.L. (2007). Empowering or compelling reluctant participators using audience response systems. Active Learning in Higher Education8(3), 233-258.

Heaslip, G., Donovan, P., & Cullen, J. (2014). Student response systems and learner engagement in large classes. Active Learning in Higher Education, 15(1), 11-24.

McCloskey, K. (2012). Using clickers in the second-language classroom: Teaching the passé composé and imparfait in French. GSTF Journal of Law and Social Sciences (JLSS), 2(1), 235-239.

Serafini, E.J. (2013). Learner perceptions of clickers as a source of feedback in the classroom. In K. McDonough & A. Mackey (Eds.), Second language interaction in diverse educational settings (pp. 209-226). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Top Hat Monocle Inc. (2015). TopHat Interactive Teaching Platform.  Available at: https://tophat.com/


Anna Limanni

University of Toronto

Wednesday December 9, 2015 2:30pm - 3:00pm EST
Meeting Room B

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