Monday, February 25, 2008

Turning Point Response Systems

For my keynote address at the e-Learning 2008 Conference last week I used the Turning Point Audience Response System from Turning Technologies for getting audience participation related to the myths and realities of online learning.

Most of the info about this presentation will be over at Desire2Blog since most of it is specific to online learning. However, the use of the response systems belongs in this forum and I will write a bit more about using these systems.

First: Turning Technologies has been wonderful to work with. Any of you who know me probably know that I am not a guy who gushes about vendors very often. In fact, I am usually the devil's advocate (or just the devil himself) who is constantly harping on how they can be better and what they need to do to be worthy of our scarce higher ed dollars. So, for me to say that the Turning Point people have been great to work with is somewhat notable in itself. But that is exactly what my experience has been so far. I've dealt with three different people to one extent or another and they all have been great and easy to work with. And very responsive.

Second: the technology itself is very easy to learn and you can quickly get up to speed. I attended one 45-minute live webinar which was very well done; and the next thing I knew I had all 21 of my audience response questions built, tested, and ready-to-go. The software itself is just a plug-in to PowerPoint, so for anyone who uses PowerPoint there is a very small learning curve.

Third: The reporting capabilities are pretty strong. I have generated a few different user reports from the data gathered at the conference, and am finding more and more ways of using the information. Below is an example of one of the pie charts that I edited. This was the audience response to the statement that I threw in near the end of the presentation. So many people seem to think that Second Life is going to be such a big deal - I wanted to see if this tech-savvy audience had all drank the Koolaid. Apparently not (although I admit that the question was somewhat heavily loaded with the whole "Second Coming" reference - still, it was fun for me and that's what matters).

Overall, the use of the response systems added a lot to the conference in general (we used them four times) as well as my particular presentation. I understand that Turning Technologies is working on another new system that will be web-based rather than PPT-based. I very much look forward to that development. There is at least one of those web-based services available that I am aware of, but I prefer the idea of an experienced provider of the technology and one that has proven to me that they are good to work with.

Memo to Turning Technologies management: DON'T LET BLACKBOARD BUY YOU OUT - or all bets are off!!

1 comment:

Didier Moulin said...

The audience response system market keeps growing.
There are more and more models on the market, in more or less large series. The latest models are in credit card size with not weight more than few grams. These packages are ,for the most, efficient and compatible with PowerPoint. Most of the new generation of keypads are using radio technology (2.4 GHz), which operates without implementation constraint like infrared devices.

The features vary according to use, but some are fundamental to remember:
- Size and weight for transport
- Ergonomic and easy to use
- Consumption of batteries
- Software performance for PowerPoint

I work for PowerVote audience response system which provides the same type of product. Fully integrated in Microsoft PowerPoint and as easy to use as a wireless mouse, Its technology is becoming accessible to anybody who wants to make a PowerPoint presentation interactive. PowerVote is the smallest wireless voting keypad with a screen on the market.

more information :