Clickers in the Classroom

Overview
Support
Logistics
Software Download
Best Practices with Clickers
Tutorials on How to Use TurningPoint

Overview

A “clicker system” or classroom response system (sometimes called a “personal response system” or “audience response system”) is a combination of hardware and software that facilitates teaching activities such as the following:

  • A teacher poses a multiple-choice question to his or her students via a computer and LCD projector. The system we use, Turing Point, works seamlessly with PowerPoint; however, users who wish to avoid PowerPoint can simply use a Turning Point software (specifically Turning Point Anywhere) to do so.
  • Each student submits his or her answer to the question using a handheld transmitter (often called a “clicker”) that beams a radio-frequency (RF) signal to a receiver attached to the USB port of the instructor’s computer.
  • Software on the instructor’s computer collects the students’ answers and produces a histogram showing how many students chose each of the answer choices. A wide variety of reports based on which transmitter answered which question are also available with the system.
On the Boston University Medical Campus we use a system manufactured by Turning Technologies called Turning Point (www.turningtechnologies.com).

Support

If you would like to learn more about how clickers could be introduced into your classroom and/or experiment with a clicker system before “going live” with one contact Rob Schadtrschadt@bu.edu. For online documentation and tutorials click here.

Logistics

  • Transmitters (“Clickers”): To request clickers, click here. 
  • Receivers: With the current radio-frequency technology, receivers are as small as a flash drive and simply plug into the USB port of a computer. Educational Media Center staff can assist in connecting the receiver to built in computers (or the instructor’s laptop).
  • Software: Turning Point software has been installed on the presentation computers in all the larger BUMC classrooms. The software is available for free from the links below, so instructors can install it on their office computers or laptops.

Downloading Turning Point

There are 2 versions of Turning Point, one for PC and one for Mac. Each of these can be downloaded using the link below. Simply right click on the link and chose “Save Target.”

Windows

Mac

Best Practices with Clickers

There are many useful resources on the effective use of clickers. To start, we recommend the instructions at Vanderbilt University. To view their clicker resource page, click here.

Clicker Resources from the Carl Wieman Science Education Initiative at the University of British Columbia: http://www.cwsei.ubc.ca/resources/clickers.htm

Multiple Choice Questions You Wouldn’t put on a Test: Promoting Deep Learning Using Clickers: click here