On Friday 5th May, Robin Smyth from Turning Technologies visited the University to discuss the features of version 8 of TurningPoint Responseware, including numerous novel methods of promoting student participation while providing a mechanism for monitoring and reporting the progress of student learning.
The session began with the audience asked to access the Responseware web address, or access the group via the Smart device application. The audience were then actively engaged in a demonstration of some of the key features that TurningPoint Responseware had to offer, and were to take the role of students participating, as they would in a teaching environment. Features discussed included non-competitive rankings and infographics to represent results, alongside competitive functions, including "team allocation" - allowing audience members to choose a team (in this instance Batman or Superman) to play for, "fastest responders" - giving scoring of the fastest correct responders to a question, and "most valuable players" - to show the most correct and efficient responders on each team. Different and visually appealing graphs and scoreboards were highlighted to give real time monitoring of team scores.
New features specific to TurningPoint version 8, due to be implemented across the University over the summer of 2017, were also highlighted, offering staff members the opportunity to increase awareness of the functionality ahead of the new academic year. These features included the use of Word Clouds - offering an infographic representation of keywords from responses, as well as bug fixes and general enhancements to smoothness in implementation.
The session broke for lunch where audience members had opportunities to sit down with a sandwich and coffee and discuss their personal experience in groups, as well as difficulties they had faced. This sparked discussion for the post-lunch Q&A session, and Robin fielded questions from several members about their experience using the software/hardware.
During the second part of the session, Robin further demonstrated the different techniques of implementing TurningPoint, via Powerpoint, Anywhere and Self-Paced Polling. Powerpoint Polling, the most popular style, allowed the embedding of polling questions into tradition Powerpoint slides, while Anywhere polling facilitates spontaneous and non-powerpoint based implementation (albeit the spontaneity comes at a cost of style). Self-paced polling was something the group seemed to be less aware of, with this feature allowing asynchronous administration of questions for a group. For example, setting questions with a 24 hour period to complete, and once this period is done, the poll will close and responses recorded.
The audience had opportunity to field any final questions, and the session finished promptly at 1:30pm.
The audience contained an array of different faculty staff members, from Computer Science to the School of Management, with opportunity to discuss their experiences in using the software in teaching and support. A pleasing observation was the different stages in the polling software lifecycle in regards to implementation across the audience members, with some new to the concept of interactive polling and investigating methods of incorporation in their teaching, while other "veterans" of the polling system usage seeking ways to clarify feature capability and gain understanding of the new system improvements. All audience members were able to offer a diverse insight into their experience and the possibilities present within their faculty.
The size of the group was near perfect, providing an environment where members were comfortable interacting and offering their experiences, answering each other's questions and interacted fluidly with both Robin and their fellow colleagues.
Next Steps and Support:
Should you wish to implement TurningPoint Responseware within your teaching, or are looking for clarification as to how to accomplish something - or even whether something is possible - there are a variety of different options for you to get the help you need.
Webinars are held often on a weekly basis on a variety of subjects, including the aforementioned Self-Paced Polling, Anywhere Polling and Powerpoint Polling, involving instructional methods to implement each of these with most impact. To access them, you will need to Click Here and select "Register" next to one you are able to attend. Once you attend the webinar, the video training will be sent to you to keep for reference.
Contact TurningTechnologies directly:
Robin suggested the best method of contact was via himself directly, either via email, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or via telephone, on 028 9008 0182. This would allow him to answer any questions directly, and help with implementation issues while on the phone.
Other staff members:
Based upon the turn out for the session, it was clear that TurningPoint is used across a diverse range of faculties across the University. Should you know of anyone in your department using this technology, it may be as easy to ask them for help and advice in utilising this useful tool.