Using "clickers" in the classroom

  • Faculty & Staff

Special Notes for 2021

  • We have fully adopted Poll Everywhere, and we no longer use TurningPoint
  • PollEverywhere can be used for remote learning or in-person classes.
  • Contact us at for further information.

What are audience response systems?

These are hardware and/or software solutions for allowing students to respond to questions posed by the instructor.  Depending on the system, instructors have the option to display a histogram of the responses, track who has voted, and track each person's response.


Why do teachers use them? 

  • Teachers use these systems to informally assess students' knowledge of a topic before lecturing, to see whether students understand a point after it has been explained, and to ask survey or opinion questions.  

  • For a step-by-step method of using them for peer instruction, see the slideshow by Eric Mazur of Harvard at  This slideshow uses TurningTechnologies clickers, but any audience response system could achieve the same results.

  • Links to a variety of articles on the pedagogy and applications of audience response systems are available at


What systems are available at Penn?

We have standardized on PollEverywhere:

  • PollEverywhere
    Students respond via text message or on a website by using a phone, tablet or laptop, and instructors use software that we have licensed for this year. Students do NOT need to buy a license or special device.  This is best for un-registered anonymous polls, where you don't track whether a person votes, but the system is very easy to set up and use.
    Learn more ...

    Request a PollEverywhere Account


Last reviewed August 5, 2022