DIT lecturer’s technical tips on the use of clickers

Dr Barry Ryan (School of Food Science and Environmental Health)  provides tips on the use of Turningpoint clickers

Currently I am using Turning Technologies clicker devices with my Foundation Organic Chemistry students at DIT’s Cathal Brugha St Campus. I am participating in a semester long research project investigating best practice into their use with science students, in both the classroom and the laboratory.   I have found that the freely downloadable Turning Technologies “TurningPoint” software installs and integrates into PowerPoint easily permitting seamless presentation and polling.

Once downloaded, TurningPoint appears as a separate tab on the PowerPoint ribbon. Clicking on the ‘insert slide’ option on the TurningPoint tab inserts a basic polling slide; this is the starting point for all further slide development.

There are several types of polling slides available within the ‘insert slide’ tab, simple ‘true/false’ and ‘Likert scale’ slides are common start points for the most basic students  polling. Once the type of slide has been selected, the user can manipulate content, size, etc. to his/her own desired specifications.

The correct answer can also be indicated and if this option is completed the correct answer will be highlighted to the students once polling has been finished and the results have been displayed. To select the correct answer, use the drop down menus in the ‘settings pane’ to identify the correct answer. The ‘correct answer indicator’, in the ‘insert object’ tab is then used to visually distinguish the correct answer for the students.

Another useful feature of the ‘insert object’ tab is the ‘countdown’ option. This displays a countdown device, showing the students how much time remains to respond.

I have found that more complex polling slides can also be easily generated; for example, using images as the answer options. The  basic question slide is used to start the design, but this time images are inserted into the file (‘Insert’ tab > ‘Images’), and selected in the same order as the option choices in the question. The ‘convert picture to slide’ tab is then selected and the images are automatically converted into the choices for the students.

Another option is the fill in the blank slide; this type of slide is obtained from the ‘insert slide’ tab and ‘fill in the blank’ option. The students can then use their Clickers to enter the text corresponding to their response. The number of times a (key)word has been submitted by the students  is then indicated once the poll is complete. Additionally, numeric responses can also be collected by designing a slide based on the ‘numeric slide response’ under the ‘insert slide’ tab. Defined correct values, or a range of values, can be pre-selected within the slide at this point. If this option is chosen the number of correct responses will be displayed to the students upon poll completion. The students can also be asked to prioritise a number of possible responses by employing the ‘priority ranking’ slide from the ‘insert slide’ tab. The weighting assigned to each response can be adjusted during the slide design stage. Once the students have completed prioritising the responses, the TurningPoint software will aggregate and collate the data, graphically displaying the results.

Saving the response data

Once the teaching session is complete, you can save the session data selecting the ‘save session’ option in the TurningPoint tab. This will save the session as a separate file, including all the students’ responses.

Resetting the presentation, using the ‘reset’ option will clear the collected students data for future re-use of the presentation. Once the session data has been saved the TurningPoint software also allows reports to be generated based on the data collected during polling.

Select the ‘reports’ option under the ‘Tools’ tab; within this option there are several choices and the type of report selected will depend on the data analysis required by the user. The report(s) generate will be exported as an Excel file allowing for easy further data manipulation. If multiple reports are selected, they will be divided into separate tabs within the exported Excel file.

This just a brief summary of the types of polling options available in TurningPoint, there are areas not covered in this blog; such as generating, maintaining and exporting participants lists. The online tutorials are an excellent source of ‘how to’ information, with the Turning Technologies webpage particularly helpful.

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About Muireann O'Keeffe

I am an educational developer currently working at DCU. I have a passion for researching and evaluating technology that can support and enhance learning. In the past I have taught on Masters programmes (Msc Applied elearning & Postgraduate Diploma in Third level Learning and Teaching) as well as Leadership development programmes.
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