WHAT ARE CLICKERS?
Clickers (previously called zappers) are small handsets which enable students to answer multiple-choice 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 we have is Turning Point from www.turningtechnologies.co.uk
Alternatively, students can vote online using their mobile device (phone, tablet or laptop) using ResponseWare via an app or web browser. Tutors require a ResponseWare instructor licence; please contact the iSolutions Digital Learning team (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Used effectively, this technology has been shown to improve interaction, attendance, enjoyment and outcome of classroom teaching (Duncan 2005).
AVAILABILITY OF CLICKERS
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.
Clicker loan service (until June 2017)
The Library runs a clicker loan service which is open to all academic staff. You can book up to 240 clickers – 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
Note that the Library’s loan service will be withdrawn at the end of June 2017.
TRAINING AND ADVICE
There is currently no scheduled training in the use of the Zappers, but iSolutions Digital Learning team 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 Clickers – one sheet of A4 with all the info you need.
How to Use Turning Point clickers in a Common Learning Space – this PDF set of screenshots takes you step-by-step through using clickers in a CLS.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Please see our list of FAQs and their answers.
INSTALLING THE Turning Point SOFTWARE
Note that Turning Point version 5.3 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 Windows 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.
The only version available to download from the Turning Point websites (UK and US) is the latest one, version 8. You can only use this if you have an instructor licence; if you would like one of these please contact the iSolutions Digital Learning team (email@example.com), who have a few spare. Note that these will expire in January 2018.
Do not use a USB receiver with Turning Point 8 – it will update it so it can no longer be used with Turning Point 5. The Digital Learning team has some accidentally upgraded receivers you could use, but most TP 8 tutors get their students to vote online using ResponseWare.
REFERENCES AND RESOURCES
Clicker resource guide: An instructors guide to the effective use of personal response systems (clickers) in teaching. University of Colorado Science Education Initiative & University of British Columbia Carl Wieman Science Education Initiative. (2008). An excellent and inspirational guide!
Peer Instruction for Active Learning – Eric Mazur (YouTube video)
Best Practice tips from the University of Milwaukee
Duncan, D. (2005) Clickers in the Classroom, Pearson Education (out of print, but available as a PDF)
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.