TurningTechnologies Clickers

  • Faculty & Staff

Getting Set Up - for Students Introduction

  • What are clickers?
    Audience response systems (which we call "clickers") include 3 components:
    ResponseCards and Receiver
    The hardware: handsets and a receiver

    1. small handsets that students use to vote on a multiple-choice survey or quiz question projected in the classrooms
    2. a small wireless receiver attached to the classroom computer to collect the responses sent from student handsets. The receiver also includes storage for the students' responses and the
    3. software that you will need to run. The software displays the question and tabulates student responses, displaying a histogram of the responses when voting has finished.


What system is available at Penn?

  • We have standardized on the TurningPoint system from TurningTechnologies because it is a good, reliable product.
    • Although several clicker systems on the market provide very similar functionality, by standardizing on just one, we have built experience and expertise in supporting it.
    • NOTE:  TurningTechnologies offers a product called "ResponseWare", which allows students to respond using a laptop or any web-capable smartphone.  When we pilot tested this, we found that cellphone coverage was spotty (at best) in some classrooms, and not all instructors wanted students to have an excuse to be distracted by a cellphone or laptop during class.  You may choose either clickers or ResponseWare, or allow students to use either in the same class.
  • The Bookstore will sell (and rent) the TurningPoint ResponseCard QT clickers in the textbook area, or the students can buy the clickers online
    • You should let the Textbook Department at the Bookstore know that you'll be requiring Clickers for your class, so they can put them on the shelf with your textbook.  You can contact them at coursebk@pobox.upenn.edu or 898-4500.
    •  Your students can purchase or rent a clicker and their choice of a new or used textbook for your course.
    • At the end of the Fall and Spring semesters, the Bookstore usually offers a buy-back program for the clickers, much as they do with used textbooks, but with a higher buyback value than books.
    • If students prefer to purchase the clicker online, they can create an account (from the link in your Canvas site) and go there to get Penn's discounted pricing.
  • The TurningPoint system integrates with the Canvas gradebook
    • You have the option of tracking individual student responses, and recording them in the Canvas gradebook. This allows you to use the clickers for in-class quizzes, or other applications where you want to know how individual students responded to your questions.
    • Note: You must add a Module for the Clicker registration to your Canvas site. Then you put the "External Tool" called "TurningPoint Registration Tool" in that Module. It must remain in the Module to work — you can't copy the link and put it somewhere else. Please contact us at clickers-help@sas if you want us to do this for you.
    • To use the Integration with Canvas, you'll need to enter Penn's URL:  http://upenn.turningtechnologies.com

How does it work? A typical scenario:

Install the Flash plugin to watch this video.

(More discussion among students takes place with every question, but we aren't able to show it here because we protect students' privacy.)

  • Instructors request a Receiver and Instructor Kit
  • Download TurningPoint Cloud onto a flash drive or the desktop with which you will be accessing the software in class (we suggest downloading the software onto a flash drive for ease of access)
  • Before class, the instructor uses the free TurningPoint Cloud software to create questions. 
    • This software lets you create questions that will run in TurningPoint5 over any kind of content (PDF, YouTube, etc.), or adds buttons to your PowerPoint menus so that you can add questions to slides.
    • You may choose which style of polling you would like to use: PowerPoint Polling, Anywhere Polling, or Self-Paced Polling (for exams)
    • We recommend that you go to http://www.turningtechnologies.com/responsesystemsupport/downloads and make sure that you have the latest version of the software on the USB drive, and continue to work from there, so that your software, question files, and response files are all in one place.
    • Questions can be a variety of styles of multiple-choice, such as True/False, Yes/No/Abstain, Likert scales, or standard multiple choice questions with up to 10 possible answers, as well as short-answer, fill-in-the-blank or numeric answers.  You can add a count-down timer and/or a correct answer indicator if you'd like.
      an example of a Likert scale
    • There's also a "user feedback" box on the information bar at the top of the screen when you're running a slide show.  The counter in this box increments every time a student presses the question-mark button on the clicker, so you can tell if students are confused as you go along.
    • The Weigle Information Commons Clickers Page also has templates for "Jeopardy" and "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" educational games using the clickers.
    • Detailed guides and tutorials on the software and the clickers are available on the TurningTechnologies website, and we'll be happy to assist you in learning to use the software.
  • In class, the instructor has the USB receiver plugged into the classroom computer or laptop, and then runs the TurningPoint Cloud software from that computer. 
    • You have the option of using PowerPoint Polling, Anywhere Polling, or Self-Paced Polling (for exams)
    • When you reach a question, you start polling for that question and students send a response from their handsets.  Only the last response a student enters counts.
    • As the students vote, the receiver on classroom computer or laptop registers the responses and tabulates them.
    • After the voting is finished and you close polling, a slide comes up with a chart of the responses. 

    • You can also easily add a tool that indicates the correct response after voting has closed (in this case, with an arrow).
      correct answer
  • After class, you can export the results from TurningPoint Cloud
    • You can analyze the results in TurningPoint Cloud if you'd like to look at the details.
    • You can export the results to Excel, HTML, or CSV
    • You can upload the results to the Canvas gradebook for your course, and just count attendance or automatically grade responses.

How can I get started using clickers in my class?

  • How do I get started?
    • Please contact clickers-help@sas if you think you'd like to use clickers in your class.  We'll review your particular interests and recommend the best approach for your application.  If you're planning to use the Mac installed in the classroom where you teach, please let us know and we'll get you Administrator access to that computer, which may be necessary to run the TurningPoint software.
  • What about the systems that publishers offer bundled with text books?
    • We use the ResponseCard system from TurningPoint.  Some publishers offer packages that include clickers - if you're considering one of these, please be sure that the clicker is this model we use.  If you have any concerns about evaluating what the publisher is offering, please just contact us.
  • Is there anything my students or I have to buy?
    • In most cases, students will have to buy a clicker handset at the bookstore or online (see above for details).  Sometimes the clickers are shrink-wrapped with the textbook, but students can purchase clickers separately if you want to use a different book, or if they buy a used textbook.  
    • For very limited uses, we may be able to provide handsets that can be loaned to students for one or two class meetings.
    • As the instructor, you'll need to have the free software stored on the receiver so you can build questions. 
    • Detailed guides and manuals for using the software are available on the TurningTechnologies website, but we'll be happy to assist you in learning to use it.
    • Plug the receiver with the software into the classroom computer, and you're ready to go.
      • If you prefer, you can use your own laptop in the classroom, and run the software and project the questions from there.
  • What about using iPhones or other 'smartphones' instead of a clicker? 
    TurningTechnologies does offer software that runs on iPhones, Blackberries, and any laptop or mobile phone with a web browser.  You are welcome to let some or all of your students use this, but we haven't fully adopted it yet because of some concerns, including:
    • Most, but not all, mobile phone carriers provide strong signal coverage in some Penn classrooms
    • AirPennNet may not have enough wireless 'leases' in some buildings to allow every student in a large lecture hall to connect at the same time.
    • Concerns about giving students an 'excuse' to be using a mobile phone during class 
    If you would like to try this software despite these issues, please contact us so we can discuss a trial use of it.
  •  What if I never use PowerPoint?
    • If you want to learn to use PowerPoint, you can attend a free PowerPoint workshop in the Weigle Information Commons
    • If PowerPoint is not typically used in your field, or you would rather use a different application to project your questions, you can use the Anywhere Polling, which is part of the regular software, and which lets you run a poll over any content on the computer.  There is also Self-Paced Polling, which one or two classes have tried for exams.

What do students and instructors think of the clickers?

  • Response from students has generally been very positive.  Students' survey responses indicate that they find the use of clickers engaging.
  • Clicking toward a better education, a front-page article in the February 25, 2008, Daily Pennsylvanian, Helen Yoon interviewed faculty and students about the use of clickers in SAS courses.
  • In the February 26, 2010, Penn Almanac, Paul Heiney wrote a Talk about Teaching and Learning column entitled "Peer Instruction in Large Classes," which included his experience using clickers.

Is there somewhere I can try out the system?

  • The Weigle Information Commons has a classroom set of 35 clickers for faculty use in the Van Pelt Dietrich Library Center.
  • For more information, please check the (WIC Clickers Page) or email us at clickers-help@sas
  • The Library also offers hands-on Clickers with PowerPoint workshops from time to time - see the WICShops schedule for info

FAQ, more detailed instructions and resources

Please send mail to clickers-help@sas if you'd like more information or a demonstration of this system.

For Instructors:

  • Product manuals are available from TurningPoint's website.
  • Download the polling software (or update the version you have) from https://www.turningtechnologies.com/downloads
  • Turning Technologies has a series of on-demand online tutorials for PC and Mac, and we strongly recommend them. Please see their Online Tutorials page.
  • They also offer free one-hour live training sessions on a variety of topics for both new and advanced users. To see a schedule and register for a session, see this website.
  • Determining the Channel of the Receiver You Have
  • Running a Polling Test (from the TurningTechnologies manual - to be sure each clicker is working - usually only if you are having trouble)
  • Canvas integration (to use clickers in "registered" mode for quizzes or to track attendance) requires 3 steps:
  1. Add a "Module" to your Canvas site with the Clicker Registration Tool for your students to use.
    Instructions: click here
    Note that this will ONLY work with the tool in a Module. You can't put it anywhere else.
  2. Give your students instructions on how to register their clickers (or post them on Canvas),
    Handout:  Canvas_StudentGuide_2017-18-Penn.pdf
  3. Read the QuickStartGuide to get started. Details of how to download participant lists and upload results are on page 15.
    The "Server Address" for Penn is http://upenn.turningtechnologies.com (all lower-case)

For Students:

Other materials to help instructors think about using clickers

Clicker software and classroom computers

  • The new black and white receivers have no-install versions of the software for PC and Mac.  This means you don't have to rely on having the software installed on the classroom computer.  We have tested this in SAS Central Pool Classrooms without a problem.  We have experienced problems running the software from the USB receiver in Nursing's Fagin Hall classrooms.  Please contact us if you plan to use clickers there.
  • Please contact us at clickers-help@sas to be sure the software is installed in your classroom if you plan to use it from the podium computer.