Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Five Steps to a Presentation Success

Before taking a closer look into TurningPoint itself, we shall first take a look at the five steps of presentation success. By taking a step into the rabbit hole, we will then be able to focus more on how we got there, and perhaps on which way to go next. In a way, this view of TurningPoint will be from a top-down approach. So with that, let us look at the five steps.

Step One: Create Presentation Slides
In order to give a presentation, it makes sense that one must first create the presentation slides, and as a result, this is the first major step. Of course, this step may be broken down further, such as planning a presentation, how it will be structured, etc. But from the TurningPoint perspective, this is the first major step.

A TurningPoint presentation itself may be initially added onto from a regular PowerPoint presentation, as opposed to building one from scratch. What differs from the two is the interactive component a person may use. As a result, PowerPoint slides will differ from TurningPoint slides in this way. In future posts, a closer look at how to create the interactive components will be taken.

Step Two: Set Up the Response Devices
As told in the previous post, the primary interface for the audience to interact with a presentation is the "clicker." Its corresponding hardware component is the receiver, which listens for responses from the clicker. In order for this communication to take place, all of the clickers must be set up to the same channel as the receiver; the channel is an integer from 1-82 and defaults to 41.

The receiver's channel may be set in the TurningPoint settings, which shall be discussed in a later post. To establish the channel for the clicker, this must be done for each one that will be used by an audience member. First, click the 'GO' button on the clicker. This will cause a little LED light to blink orange. Next, click the two-digit channel number on the clicker, such as '81' or '04.' Then, simply click the 'GO' button again. If the channel is set correctly, the blinking orange light will instead blink green. Otherwise, it will blink red (such as if the clicker is set to the wrong channel).

Step Three: Create a Participant List
With TurningPoint, as said before, the audience of a presentation is able to respond and interact. This interaction may be completely anonymous. However, sometimes, a presenter would like to know and remember what had been responded and even who responded with what. In cases such as this, a participant list is very helpful.

As an example, a professor giving a presentation may want to keep attendance. He or she may then assign a particular clicker (by ID) to a particular student, and then have the student click in any response. Or a professor may want to give a quiz in the middle of the class, and keep track of the responses from the students individually. With a participant list, complete control is provided for knowing what was responded in some part of the presentation, and also even who said what.

If a given presentation does not need to know about the audience members individually, or does not particularly care for the participants, this step may be skipped with no worry.

Step Four: Run a Presentation Session
When presenting a TurningPoint presentation, the particular setting of the presentation with the audience is termed a session. A session coincides with a group of individuals (the audience) and the presentation slides. The data collected by the presentation, through the use of the clickers, is saved within the session.

Even if a participant list is not created for the presentation, a session is still created by TurningPoint with the data collected. This data itself may even still be saved.

Step Five: Save Session Results
The last, and potentially optional, step is to save the session results. What this refers to is saving what had been responded by the audience throughout the whole presentation. Saving a session may be useful for several reasons. Attendance keeping, as an example provided before, is one such reason. Also, if a presentation was stopped in the middle, a session may be saved and reopened the next meeting if needed.

Perhaps the main reason to save a session refers to situations such that the data holding responses will be needed at a later time. This may be useful for professors who would like to know the level a class is comprehending materials during a lecture, potentially allowing more focus one some material and less on others. As a result, a much better learning experience is established for the students.

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