Thursday, August 21, 2008

Clickers in the Classroom

Student response systems (affectionately called clickers) are being integrated into instruction at both the high school and college level. This semester, we have over 20 faculty members at JCCC using the TurningPoint clicker system. TurningPoint Technologies offers three different applications for use with their clicker system: TurningPoint 2008 (which works hand-in-hand with PowerPoint to add special interactive slides with questions and then displays the responses received from students in graph form), TurningPoint Anywhere 2008 (which overlays any computer application and can be used to poll, survey, collect and display student responses; e.g., you can use the overlay on top of a screen displaying a Word document, a web site, an Excel document, or literally any application), and ResponseWare Web (which collects student responses using a web site; that is, it can be used in a classroom where all students have access to a computer or it can be used when students have their own wireless laptop or cell phone with Internet access). ResponseWare Web can also be used with distance learning students, since only web access is required…no student clicker is needed..

If you’re one of those faculty members using TurningPoint, one of the first lessons we try to teach is that after installing the software, users should set the default option for the TurningPoint 2008 add-in to always appear in PowerPoint. If you do so, you don’t need to open TurningPoint 2008 and then open a PowerPoint slideshow. With the option set, you can simply open PowerPoint and the TurningPoint 2008 add-in is loaded automatically and available. To turn on this setting:

  1. Open TurningPoint 2008.
  2. Select the TurningPoint tab (in Office 2007 version).
  3. Select the Tools > Settings command.
  4. In the Presentation settings (select in the left panel), under the Misc section (you’ll need to scroll down in the right panel), change the value for “Add-In always loaded” to True (click on the word False and use the drop-down to select True).
  5. Click Done (bottom of window).

You only have to do this once and then TurningPoint will always be loaded when you start PowerPoint. Then you can dispense with the TurningPoint desktop shortcut if you wish.

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