TurningPoint “Zappers”


Zapper handset and USB receiverZappers are small handsets (as used in the TV programme “Who wants to be a Millionaire”) which enable students to give their answer to questions displayed using PowerPoint. The results are instantly available as a graph for the lecturer and students to see and discuss. The data can be exported and saved using convenient Excel report formats.

Hundreds of handsets can communicate with a single USB receiver. The handsets have a long range, do not need line-of-sight and have proved very reliable and easy to use in lectures.

The system that we have are the TurningPoint RF handsets from www.turningtechnologies.co.uk

Used effectively, this technology has been shown to improve interaction, attendance, enjoyment and outcome of classroom teaching (Duncan 2005).


Some academic units have bought their own sets, and these are listed here, along with the contact details of the person responsible for managing their use. You will normally only be able to use sets belonging to your own academic unit.

Zapper loan service

The Library runs a zapper loan service which is open to all academic staff. You can book up to 240 zappers – there are six sets, each containing 40 – and can request multiple loan dates if needed (for example if you want to use them once a week for a particular module). Availability is on a first-come, first-served basis, and loans are normally for up to 24 hours. Collection and return is via the loans desk in the Hartley Library.

There are also a further two sets (80) available for loan from the National Oceanography Library.

Full details of the loan service can be found on the Library website at http://library.soton.ac.uk/loans/zapper_loans


There is currently no scheduled training in the use of the Zappers, but ILIaD (iliad@soton.ac.uk) can provide training on demand for specific groups of tutors.

Turning Technologies provide many useful guides and videos, and the built-in online help is also good.

A Quick Step-by-step Guide to Zappers – one sheet of A4 with all the info you need.

How to Use Turning Point zappers in a Common Learning Space – this PDF set of screenshots takes you step-by-step through using zappers in a CLS.

RUNNING A POLL WITHOUT A PC – ResponseCard Anywhere

Turning Point produce a small handheld receiver with a screen that can be used to run polls anywhere – so this is ideal for use on field trips. The tutor asks the students a question and verbally lists the options, the students vote using their handsets and the tutor sees the results on the screen. The results are stored and can be downloaded later if required.

iSolutions has one of these devices that is available to loan to users who have their own handsets. Instructions on its use are provided in this document.


Please see our list of FAQs and their answers.


Note that the latest version of the software (version 5) is installed on all Common Learning Space PCs, so all you need to do is log in, plug in the USB receiver, distribute the handsets to the students, start TurningPoint, open your PowerPoint presentation and go. See this guide for details.

You will need to install the TurningPoint on your office PC so that you can prepare your PowerPoint presentation or add question slides to an existing presentation. Most academic staff have a Windows computer managed by iSolutions in which case you can install Turning Point from the Additional Software icon on your desktop.

You can install the software on other Windows computers by downloading it from the iSolutions Software library. You will need to log in and then choose TurningPoint from the list of Applications. Select Turning Point v5.2 for STAFF machines. Click the blue ‘i’ icon on the download page for installation instructions.

If you have an Apple Macintosh, you can register at the TurningPoint website and download the software. The latest version now integrates with PowerPoint for Mac 2011.


Duncan, D. (2005) Clickers in the Classroom, Pearson Education (out of print, but available as a .PDF)

Peer Instruction for Active Learning – Eric Mazur (YouTube video)

Best Practice tips from the University of Milwaukee

Clicker Resources a great set of links and an instructors’ guide from the University of British Columbia.

Exploring technology based continuous assessment in Mathematics and its applications
A project that explores the use of Audience Response Systems to teach maths, stats and operational research. Includes resources and a comprehensive set of references.