Thursday, December 31, 2009

A first post...

Hello, and welcome to this blog, TurningPoint @ CIT. My name is Joseph B. Axenroth, and one thing I do is help professors at WSC learn about technology for in-classroom and online teaching. One such technology for the classroom is TurningPoint, an audience response system. This technology integrates into PowerPoint presentations, providing interactivity for student participants. But how is this done? And what benefits may it have for students? Perhaps more simply, what is TurningPoint?

Perhaps most simply, TurningPoint is a software and hardware system that serves as an audience response system. What this refers to is a way for presenters to allow the audience to participate, responding to the presentation. This interaction, by the audience as a whole, will help shape the way in which the presentation may go. Specifically, TurningPoint presentations must be presented within the Microsoft Office application, PowerPoint.

TurningPoint integrates into PowerPoint as a simple add-on. When installed, a toolbar will appear within PowerPoint, similar to the standard toolbar with open, save, etc. The toolbar serves as the user interface for which the user may add TurningPoint functionality to the PowerPoint presentation. This may be done on both PC's and Mac's (although currently it does not work with Mac's PowerPoint 2008).

So how does the audience respond to the presentation? As stated before, TurningPoint is both a software and hardware system. The toolbar within PowerPoint is the primary interface in terms of software. With regards to hardware, there are two primary components. One is a "clicker" and the other is the receiver (pictured on the right).

A "clicker" is the tool used by students and/or other participants in a TurningPoint presentation. It has a sequence of buttons that a user may push in response to the presentation. This response is then sent back to the receiver. Since this is the case, the two must communicate, and do so over radio frequencies (RF). A receiver may then be set to communicate on a specific channel, 01-82, defaulting to channel 41.

Using these tools, professors (or anyone) can create presentations the audience will enjoy, and walk away remembering more than presentations without. With the future of this blog, a look will be taken to determine what this technology is, who is using it (possibly with interviews), what benefits its use has over their students, and more.

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