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Clickers, more formally known as personal response systems, are wireless handheld keypads that enable instructors to pose multiple choice questions during class and provide real-time results on a projected screen.

The answers are recorded to the instructor’s computer via a USB receiver, and can be saved for later review or to generate a variety of reports. Clickers make a lecture more interactive and provide students with a participatory role. In fact, some instructors find clickers a valuable tool for peer instruction which has demonstrated improved results in student learning.

For more information or to request the use of clickers in your lecture, send an email to
itgyale.edu. Happy clicking!

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Hello fellow clickers!

Welcome to the ITG blog dedicated exclusively to personal response systems (a.k.a. clickers).  I am hoping to use this platform as an informal way to communicate clicker news, events and uses – including video tutorials.  Please feel free leave a comment.

Thanks,

Matthew Regan
Instructional Technology Group

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ResponseWare Webinar

Turning Technologies’ training manager, Kevin Herrholtz, recently presented a 45 minute webinar on using TurningPoint ResponseWare.  Please find the recording  here.

A few viewing notes:

  • The webinar demonstrates using TurningPoint ResponseWare on the Windows platform, however, ResponseWare can be used on the Mac platform as well.
  • An additional java plugin may need to be installed in order to view the Webex webinar.
  • The interactive Webex player allows for pausing, advancing and includes an index for basic navigation.

For more information on ResponseWare, please see the following pages:

Yale ResponseWare FAQs

Turning Technologies ResponseWare FAQs

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Importing a Participant List into TurningPoint 5

The new version of TuringPoint 5 allows users to import and manage participant lists into the application management console by following these steps:

  1. Download a participant list from the Classes*v2 clicker registration tool.
  2. Launch TurningPoint 5 and select the Manage tab.
  3. Select Import from the Participant List menu.

    Click to enlarge

  4. From the Import Participant List window, select the TurningPoint Participant List option and click the Choose File… button.
  5. Select the file and click the Open button.

    Click to enlarge

  6. The participant list will appear in the left-hand column.

    Click to enlarge

  7. Click the Edit Participants button to modify the list or the Results Manager button to view student responses after a polling session.

    Click to enlarge

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Popping the Big Question(s)

In case you are wondering when the best time to ask a polling question might be during a lecture, this post (The 3 Best Times to Ask Your Students Questions) offers some suggestions that may help you get started on the right track.

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Clickers Making a Difference in the Classrooms Thanks to One of Yale’s Own

WNPR ran a week-long series called “Where We Live: Improving STEM Education”  One piece entitled “Improving STEM Education in College – Many College Students Leave the Sciences. Why?“ describes ways educators are trying to keep college students motivated in the sciences and highlights using clickers as a way to engage the students.  Yale MCDB professor and clicker proponent, Jo Handelsman, is interviewed.  Here is an except from the transcript (click the link above to listen to the segment):

Science is a popular subject at the University of Connecticut. But many students
describe their experience in a similar way as Gomez – slog through the boring introductory lecture courses and eventually you’ll be rewarded with more fun activities like involved experiments. Yale professor Jo Handelsman thinks it shouldn’t be that way, and that teaching methods are largely to blame.

“We’re really misrepresenting science in our introductory courses and turning people off to it because they think it’s something that it’s not,” said Handelsman. “A lot of rote memorization, a lot of information and content, and not conceptual thinking, and not a lot of scientific thinking.”

Handelsman recently founded the Yale Center for Scientific Teaching. The center trains graduate students on better methods for teaching science, and it also hosts a summer institute for professor and lecturers every year. Xinnian Chen, an assistant professor-in-residence at UConn, attended the institute recently and has since completely changed the way she approaches teaching.

“I noticed that to be a good teacher you will have to think about the way students learn,” said Chen.

But that wasn’t Chen’s focus before she attended the summer institute. She was only concerned that her lectures were easy to understand and students thought the exams were fair. Now, she’s focusing on whether her lectures actually motivate students to care about the subject. In order to engage them during lecture, she gave students clickers they can all use to answer a question she might pose during lecture. In an eight a.m. class with 300 students it’s made a world of difference.

“They told me in my evaluation that those activators keep them awake, they really like them,” said Chen.

Chen also asks students to answer questions on their own in small groups – another technique she learned from the Yale Center for Scientific Teaching. Stacey MacGrath is a Ph.D. student at Yale who participates in the center.

“There’s data out there showing that if you poll a group of students, even if the entire class gets the answer wrong, if you let them discuss amongst themselves, they’ll eventually get the answer right even without any kind of outside input,” said Chen.

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PowerPoint Add-Ins Adding Havoc?

If you notice sluggishness or loss of functionality when using TurningPoint, check to see if other PowerPoint add-ins are causing conflicts.  Here are steps to temporarily disable PowerPoint add-ins as a way to test for conflicts.*

  1. Launch PowerPoint via the TurningPoint icon.
  2. Click the File tab and select “Options” from the left-hand column list.

    Options Menu

    Options Menu – Click to enlarge

  3. In the PowerPoint Options window, select “Add-Ins” from the left-hand column.  If “Active Application Add-ins” are present from the list (excluding TurningPoint), go to the bottom of the window, select “Manage: COM Add-ins” from the drop-down menu and click the “Go…” button.

    COM Add-ins

    COM Add-ins – Click to enlarge

  4. In the COM Add-Ins window, deselect all the available add-ins from the list with the exception of “TurningPoint” and click the “OK” button.

    COM Add-Ins List

    COM Add-Ins List – Click to enlarge

  5. Test TurningPoint to see if any improvement is made to the application environment.
  6. If you don’t notice improvements, you can easily re-enable plug-ins by following the steps and re-checking the appropriate add-in boxes from the COM Add-Ins list.
TurningTechnologies known issues with additional PowerPoint Add-ins:
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Breaker, Breaker, 1-9 – Is My Receiver Receiving? Come On Back…

A simple way to verify that the TurningPoint software is recognizing a receiver is by going to the application settings.  Not only will the settings display receiver information, but also a means to test a receiver and clickers.*  Below are instructions for displaying the receiver information for both software packages.

TurningPoint

  • Launch TurningPoint and click on the Tools icon and select Settings.

    Setting Menu

    Settings Menu – Click to enlarge

  • Under the Settings tab in the settings window, click on “Response Device” in the
    left-hand column.
  • If a receiver is present, the serial number will appear under the right-hand column.

    Receiver Settings – Click to enlarge

  • If the channel number is not selected to 41, click the number and choose 41 from the
    drop-down menu.

    Channel Setting – Click to enlarge

  • Click the Done button at the bottom to close the settings window.

 

TurningPoint Anywhere – PC

  • Launch TurningPoint Anywhere.  The LaunchPad window will display receiver information
    in green text if a receiver is connected.  Clicking the Settings link can display additional
    information.

    TurningPoint LaunchPad – Click to enlarge

  • In the settings window, click on “Response Devices” in the left-hand column.
  • If a receiver is present, the serial number will appear under the right-hand column.

    Receiver Settings – Click to enlarge

  • Click the Done button at the bottom to close the settings window.

 

TurningPoint Anywhere – Mac

  • Launch TurningPoint Anywhere.  The LaunchPad window will display receiver information in
    green text if a receiver is connected.  Clicking the Preferences link can display additional
    information.

    Receiver Setting – Click to enlarge

  • In the preferences window, click on “Response Devices” under the Objects column.
  • If a receiver is present, the serial number will appear under the right-hand column.

    Receiver Preferences – Click to enlarge

  • Click the red button in the upper left-hand corner to close the settings window.

* View the following post to test that a receiver and clicker(s) are communicating with each other.

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Control Your Sessions with PresenterCard

ITG is now offering faculty the use of a new remote called PresenterCard that allow presenters to control TurningPoint and TurningPoint Anywere polling software. The cards provide presenters the ability to start/stop polling, hide/show results, and advance slides in either PowerPoint or Keynote.  Three additional buttons can be customized for other common functions such as displaying the countdown timer, re-polling a slide, or displaying/hiding the tool bar.

More details on the PresenterCard can be found here.  For help on configuring and using the PresenterCard, please see the following page: Using the PresenterCard.

For more information on how to obtain a PresenterCard, please email: itgyale.edu

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Using the PresenterCard

PresenterCards allow presenters to control TurningPoint and TurningPoint Anywere software.   The cards provide presenters the ability to start/stop polling, hide/show results, and advance slides in either PowerPoint or Keynote. Three additional buttons can be customized for other common functions such as displaying the countdown timer, re-polling a slide, or displaying/hiding the tool bar.

The first step in using a PresenterCard is to pair it with a receiver.  This is done in either the TurningPoint or TurningPoint Anywhere software settings.  The directions for both applications can be found on this page: Pairing a PresenterCard with a Receiver

Find the control button functions below.

PresenterCard Button Key
Start-Stop Button Starting/Stopping Polling
Back Button Return One Slide Backward
Forward Button Advance One Slide Forward
Programmable Button 01 Hide/Show Result Chart
Programmable Button 02  Hide/Show Timer
Programmable Button 03  Hide/Show Response Grid
 Show/Hide Button  Hide/Show Control Bar
Channel Button  Channel Indicator

To configure any/all of the programmable buttons in TurningPoint or TurningPoint Anywhere, refer to the following page: Configuring the Programmable Buttons on the PresenterCard.

 

Below is a list of actions that can be configured to any/all programmable buttons depending upon your polling software.
TurningPoint Anywhere

Programmable Buttons

TurningPoint
  • Hide/Show Result Chart
  • Hide/Show Countdown Timer
  • Hide/Show Response Grid
  • Hide/Show Non-Response Grid
  • Hide/Show Presentation
  • Hide/Show Anonymous
  • Hide/Show Connection Info
  • None
  • Repoll
  • Hide/Show Countdown Timer
  • Hide/Show Response Grid
  • Hide/Show Non-Response Grid
  • Hide/Show Percent/Count
  • Showbar
  • Hide/Show Anonymous
  • Hide/Show Connection Info
  • None
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Pairing the PresenterCard with a Receiver

PresenterCards allow presenters to control TurningPoint and TurningPoint Anywere software. The cards provide presenters the ability to start/stop polling, hide/show results, and advance slides in either PowerPoint or Keynote. Three additional buttons can be customized for other common functions such as displaying the countdown timer, re-polling a slide, or displaying/hiding the tool bar.

The first step in using a PresenterCard is to pair it with a receiver.

Instructions for pairing your receiver can be found below depending upon the operating system and version of TurningPoint or TurningPoint Anywhere that will be used.  Since the pairing is done in either the TurningPoint or TurningPoint Anywhere software settings, it is important to be running the latest software version which includes the PresenterCard configuration settings.

How to updating software can be found on this page: Updating a Down-and-Out-of-Date Software

 

 

TurningPoint Anywhere – Mac

 

  1. Plug the USB receiver into your computer.
  2. Launch the TurningPoint Anywhere program, select Preferences… from the TurningPoint Anywhere menu.*
  3. In the Preferences window, click on Response Devices under the Objects column and click the “Change…” button on the PresenterCard Devide ID line.
    PresenterCard Settings
    PresenterCard Settings – Click to enlarge
  4. Click any button on the PresenterCard. The PresenterCard ID will appear on the Paired Device window. Click the Pair button to save the setting.
    PresenterCard Pair
    PresenterCard Pair – Click to enlarge
  5. Close the Preferences window.

TurningPoint Anywhere – Windows

 

  1. Plug the USB receiver into your computer.
  2. Launch the TurningPoint Anywhere program, click the Settings link from the dashboard window click on Response Devices under the Objects column and click the “Change” button on the PresenterCard Devide ID line.
    Dashboard Settings
    Dashboard Settings – Click to enlarge
    PresenterCard Settings
    PresenterCard Settings – Click to enlarge
  3. Click any button on the PresenterCard. The PresenterCard ID will appear on the Paired Device window. Click the Pair button to save the setting.
    Pair Button
    Pair Button – Click to enlarge
  4. Click the Done button to save the changes and close the Settings window.

 

TurningPoint – Windows

 

  1. Plug the USB receiver into your computer.
  2. Launch TurningPoint, click the Tools icon in the TurningPoint tab, and select Settings from the drop-down menu.
    Setting Menu
    Settings Menu
  3. Under the Settings Tab, click Response Device, find the PresenterCardsection in the right column, and select an action for any/all buttons from the corresponding drop-down menus.
    PresenterCard Settings
    PresenterCard Device ID Settings – Click to enlarge
  4. Click any button on the PresenterCard. The PresenterCard ID will appear in the Paired Device window. Click the Pair button to save the setting.
    Pair Button
    Pair Button – Click to enlarge
  5. Click the Done button to save the changes and close the Settings window.

* Alternatively, Mac TurningPoint Anywhere users can access the Preferences… window by selecting the Preferences from the LaunchPad if available.

LaunchPad Preferences
Launchpad Preferences – Click to enlarge
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