Clickers (Classroom Response Systems)
Several UST faculty members are currently using Classroom Response Systems (CRS), also known as “clickers,” to create an interactive environment and encourage participation in their classes. Using small, handheld devices, students generate responses to questions presented by their instructor. A USB receiver connected to the classroom computer collects the responses, and the results can be displayed to the class for immediate feedback. Individual student responses can be recorded for grading purposes and uploaded to Blackboard, if desired. Common uses of classroom response systems include:
Generating class-wide or small-group discussions
Administering in-class quizzes
When used effectively, classroom response systems can create rewarding experiences for both instructors and students.
The following software applications are available from Turning Technologies for classroom polling:
- TurningPoint – poll in Microsoft PowerPoint (PC only)
- TurningPoint AnyWhere – stand-alone polling application (PC or Mac)
Interested faculty should contact their department’s Academic Technology Consultant or the to have the software installed on their UST computer. The appropriate software application may also need to be installed on your classroom computer(s).
Classroom Response Options
There are several response devices available from Turning Technologies. Models used previously on campus include the RF, RF LCD, XR, and NXT devices.
- For basic multiple choice and true/false polling, IRT recommends the RF LCD device.
- For multiple choice, true/false, and additional response options, including numerical and text-based, we recommend the NXT device.
Faculty are responsible for informing their students if a particular clicker model is not permissible in their course. Some students may already have purchased a response device for a previous class. If an instructor wishes to accept numerical and text-based responses to questions, their students must have an XR or NXT device. All Turning Technologies devices will work for multiple choice and true/false question types.
Faculty can link their TurningPoint presentations to usernames and clicker IDs in Blackboard for reporting and grading purposes. To enable this functionality, each student must go into the “Tools” area of any default Blackboard course, click on the “TurningPoint Registration Tool,” and enter the unique ID of their clicker device. (Note that, because Blackboard can track only one TurningPoint device at a time, students need not (and ought not) purchase more than one clicker.) The TurningPoint web site features a short video describing the registration process.
Once students register their device IDs in Blackboard, faculty can quickly download a participant list and record individual student responses. Also included is the ability for faculty to quickly export session data to the Blackboard Grade Center.
Faculty members interested in using clickers are encouraged to place an order through the UST Bookstore, just as they would a required textbook for a course. USB receivers for capturing responses cost approximately $99 and must be purchased by your department, provided that you do not already have access to one. The UST Bookstore will purchase and re-sell used clickers to students, provided that the device model is in use the following semester.
Trial kit available
IRT Client Services has one 30-clicker kit available for faculty to checkout for up to one week at a time. Contact your department’s if you would like to checkout the trial kit.
IRT partnered with ACTC schools to standardize on Turning Technologies as our CRS vendor. Departments may choose to use other systems; however, IRT can only provide limited support for products other than Turning Technologies. Documentation for Turning Technologies’ software and hardware products can be found on their support website. Faculty can also consult with their departments for all questions and issues related to classroom response systems.
The following list contains links to best practices documents and resources for teaching with response systems:
- "7 Things You Should Know About Clickers" from ELI (pdf)
- "Student Response Best Practices" from Turning Technologies
- "Teaching with Classroom Response Systems: Creating Active Learning Environments" by Derek Bruff