A New Way to Energize Students
by Maureen Roe & Marilyn Flores
A few of the common questions that many frustrated instructors have asked over the years are, "How do I get my students to pay attention in class and become actively involved in their own learning? How can I avoid asking a question and then enduring the silence of non-responsive students who are unprepared, uninterested, and or unwilling to answer?"
This past August, during fall flex week, the Basic Skills Task Force attempted to address those questions by inviting representatives from Turning Technologies, a company that prides itself on being "the leader in assessment and learning engagement services" and passionate about "creating better learning experiences …where technology is usefully integrated into every learning environment". In a flex session called "Gizmos & Gadgets: Engaging and Assessing Students in the Classroom with Innovative Tools and Technology," more than 30 faculty members were introduced to the process of producing interactive PowerPoints and were walked through how to take a standard set of slides and insert multiple choice questions, images, graphs, and charts so that students are being immediately tested on the information they are receiving, getting the chance to ask questions for clarity on the spot, and enjoying themselves in an engaging, non-threatening manner. The way it works is fairly simple: instructors may use pre-made PowerPoint presentations to insert slides that contain polling multiple-choice questions; all students receive clickers that allow them to respond to the questions; the students' responses are then displayed on the slide to show understanding of (or lack of) the materials. Instructors may choose to have their students answer anonymously or assign them specifically numbered clickers to track their answers—this might be useful for quizzing or testing situations. Everyone seems to like a robust game of Jeopardy. With this technology, game show excitement and rigorous instruction can be successfully combined to create an energized classroom of students.
The BSI Task Force purchased six classroom sets of 45 clickers available for check out from the Library (Circulation Desk). The Task Force has also purchased special cases for faculty to hold and transport the clickers. If the demand for clickers exceeds the amount of clickers available, then specific departments may wish to purchase their own sets.
More information, including training materials and ideas for best practices, is available at the Turning Technologies website: www.turningtechnologies.com
Questions about the Turning Technologies tools? Contact Marilyn Flores at 714.628.5030.