SBE Professors Bring Clickers to Blueberry Growers

Blueberry growers with clickersSBE professors Michelle Smith, Seanna Annis, and Frank Drummond, along with University of Georgia professor, Jennifer Kaplan, recently did a study on clicker use among adults outside of the formal classroom. Clickers are remote-like devices that electronically send student responses to a computer system, and are typically used in undergraduate level classes. The study expanded the use of clickers to blueberry growers in a presentation seminar, and examined how peer discussion and other demographic factors affected the accuracy of responses. Similar to what has been observed with undergraduates, after blueberry growers were able to discuss questions with neighbors, they got more questions correct.

The study took place at an annual presentation by UMaine’s Cooperative Extension to Maine blueberry growers about plant diseases and pests. Demographic information on the blueberry growers were taken such as sex, age, education level, percentage of income coming from blueberries, role on the farm (grower, manager, landowner), and number of years working with blueberries.

The researchers found that none of the demographic classifications showed a significant relationship with how the growers responded to the use of clickers and peer discussion. “Some blueberry growers had post-graduate degrees, while others had a high school diploma, yet based on results from peer-discussed clicker questions, the education levels of the growers did not disadvantage a subset of the population” said Assistant Professor Michelle Smith.

Even without an incentive, the blueberry growers were still incredibly enthusiastic. “I have always used clickers at the undergraduate level,” said Smith, “and it was really cool to walk into a group of adults and see them respond in the same way. I learned that with small changes you can really make a difference in the way adults learn.” This work is published in the journal PLoS-ONE. For more information contact Michelle Smith,