Last year we’ve been awarded the Award for Innovation and Quality in Teaching from the University of Paderborn for the PINGO project. PINGO stands for “Peer Instruction in Very Large Groups” and is a joint project of our Computer Science Education group with the E-Finance chair of Prof. Kundisch, the Economic Education chair of Prof. Beutner and Dr. Andrea Zoyke of the chair for Economic Education (in part. Media Didactics and Education).
Peer Instruction (PI) is a cooperative teaching and learning approach that is well suited to involve students even in large auditoriums. PI is technically similar to the ask-the-audience lifeline in Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?; students get involved in the lecture by using (physical or electronic) clickers to answer multiple-choice questions posed by the instructor. The questions are designed to motivate students and to unveil potential difficulties with the course topics and material. If the questions are not answered correctly, the course participants are encouraged to discuss their answers with their close peers or the presentation is repeated in a modified way (depending on the percentage of wrong answers). The motivational and learning benefits of PI have been shown and reproduced in many empirical studies using varying methods. However, until today, PI has been rarely used in very large groups, i.e., groups of (far) more than 350 students.
One major reason for the comparably slow dissemination of PI is the expensive infrastructure for electronic classroom response systems that is mostly driven by physical clickers and/or software licensing fees. When electronic clickers applications are used, they are often limited to one operating system, only work with a limited number of participating clients or are hard to use. Moreover, there are complaints when students have to buy their own physical clickers. To design a technically and didactically favorable environment for the application of PI to very large audiences, we initiated the PINGO project. The goal of the PINGO project is to develop an open, scalable, web-based and easy-to-use PI application for students and instructors.
We’re going to present PINGO at EC-TEL 2012 and mLearn 2012 in the coming weeks and have prepared some videos that describe 1) the overall Peer Instruction method using PINGO and 2) the peer discussion phase in more detail. Please let us know how you like them in the comments.
If you are interested in using PINGO and the mobile application yourself please let me know.