Zappers (Electronic Voting Systems)
WHAT ARE ZAPPERS?
Zappers are small handsets (as used in the TV programme “Who wants to be a Millionaire”) which enable students to give their answer to questions displayed using PowerPoint. The results are instantly available as a graph for the lecturer and students to see and discuss. The data can be exported and saved using convenient Excel report formats.
Hundreds of handsets can communicate with a single USB receiver. The handsets have a long range, do not need line-of-sight and have proved very reliable and easy to use in lectures.
The system that we have are the TurningPoint RF handsets from www.turningtechnologies.co.uk
Used effectively, this technology has been shown to improve interaction, attendance, enjoyment and outcome of classroom teaching (Duncan 2005).
AVAILABILITY OF ZAPPERS
Some academic units have bought their own sets, and these are listed here, along with the contact details of the person responsible for managing their use. You will normally only be able to use sets belonging to your own academic unit.
Zapper loan service
A zapper loan service has been created by CITE and the Hartley Library. This service is open to all academic staff. You can book up to 320 zappers – there are eight sets, each containing 40 – and can request multiple loan dates if needed (for example if you want to use them once a week for a particular module). Availability is on a first-come, first-served basis, and loans are normally for up to 24 hours. Collection and return is via the loans desk in the Hartley Library.
Full details of the loan service can be found on the Library website at http://www.southampton.ac.uk/library/services/zapperloans.html
The zappers were funded by the University’s Student Centredness Fund.
TRAINING AND ADVICE
Training in the use of the Zappers may be available from the new Professional Development Unit, and support for existing users is now provided through ServiceLine.
There are some self-study resources to help you learn to use zappers:
- A Quick Step-by-step Guide to Zappers - one sheet of A4 with all the info you need.
- Using Zappers in a Common Learning Space - this 8-minute video takes you through the whole process and includes advice on dealing with non-functional handsets.
- Creating questions using Turning Point - this 8-minute video describes the range of question types and shows you how to create and test them.
- Analysis of the data from a Zapper session - this 5-minute video describes how to save the data from a session and access it later as a user-friendly Excel spreadsheet.
- Using the Turning Point Showbar - this 7-minute video describes how the showbar can be used to manage questions during a presentation and includes useful techniques such as peer instruction and data slicing.
- Using a PresenterCard with Turning Point zappers - this 2-minute video shows you how to pair a PresenterCard so you can remotely control your presentations.
- Using the Participant Monitor - this 4-minute video describes how to review the performance of the whole group and individual students during a lecture.
- Confidence Levels - this 5-minute video describes how you can assess how confident your students were with their answer choices so you can adapt your teaching appropriately.
- Using Participant Lists - this 11-minute video shows you how to create a participant list that will enable you to record the scores of individual students as they answer a series of questions in a Tuning Point presentation. It shows you how those students can register their handsets in-class, so that you can distribute the handsets quickly at the start of the session.
- Adding equations to Turning Point quizzes - some advice about how to include math expressions in questions.
- Instructions for students - these PowerPoint slides show students how to vote and how to check their zapper is working. You can use it as a stand-alone presentation or copy the slides to your own presentation as required.
- How to fix zappers - if they randomly press the wrong combination of buttons (and they do) students can inadvertently stop their handsets working. This PowerPoint shows the 10-second procedure to get them working again.
- Evaluation Template - this PowerPoint file has all of the standard 'end of module' evaluation questions, except the ones that require written answers. You can download this and edit as required.
- Evaluation Template for Placements - this PowerPoint file has 'end of module' evaluation questions including a few that are only applicable to students on placement. You can download this and edit as required.
- Some online tutorials are available at www.turningtechnologies.co.uk
RUNNING A POLL WITHOUT A PC - ResponseCard Anywhere
Turning Point produce a small handheld receiver with a screen that can be used to run polls anywhere - so this is ideal for use on field trips. The tutor asks the students a question and verbally lists the options, the students vote using their handsets and the tutor sees the results on the screen. The results are stored and can be downloaded later if required.
iSolutions has one of these devices that is available to loan to users who have their own handsets. Instructions on its use are provided in this document.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Please see our list of FAQs and their answers.
INSTALLING THE TurningPoint SOFTWARE
Note that the software is installed on all Common Learning Space PCs, so all you need to do is log in, plug in the USB receiver, distribute the handsets to the students, start TurningPoint, open your PowerPoint presentation and go. See this guide for details.
You will need to install the TurningPoint on your office PC so that you can prepare your PowerPoint presentation or add question slides to an existing presentation. Most academic staff have a Windows computer managed by iSolutions. You can install Turning Point from the Additional Software icon on your desktop..
We recommend that ALL tutors who use zappers join the special interest group so that we can keep you up-to-date with information about new training resources, special events and software issues.
You can install the software on other Windows computers by downloading it from the iSolutions Software library. You will need to log in and then choose TurningPoint 2008 from the list of Applications. Click the blue 'i' icon on the download page for installation instructions.
If you have an Apple Macintosh, you can register at the TurningPoint website and download the software. Note that the software does NOT work with Mac Office 2008 or 2010, so you will probably need to use the stand-alone Turning Point Anywhere software instead.
REFERENCES AND RESOURCES
Duncan, D. (2005) Clickers in the Classroom, Pearson Education
Vibrant Student Voices: exploring effects of the use of clickers in large college courses
An excellent paper by Angel Hoekstra in Learning, Media and Technology 33:4 which clearly explains how clickers (zappers) can be used to good effect in large lectures.
Eric Mazur : From Questions to Concepts: Interactive Teaching in Physics
This YouTube videoclip shows interactive lecturing at Harvard that uses zappers to promote the understanding of comments through questions and discussion.
Exploring technology based continuous assessment in Mathematics and its applications
A project that explores the use of Audience Response Systems to teach maths, stats and operational research. Includes resources and a comprehensive set of references.
Use of Personal Response Systems (Zappers) Loaned by LATEU in 2008: a report that includes feedback from tutors who borrowed our systems.
Clickers in Practice: advice from Ohio State University, including some great teaching ideas for specific disciplines.
Turning Technologies User Conference - 27 October 2011 University of Surrey - a set of seven recordings of presentations made at the conference.
ZAPPER SPECIAL INTEREST GROUP
The iSolutions E-Learning Enablement team coordinates a special interest group for University zapper users.
We recommend that ALL tutors who use zappers join this group so that we can keep you up-to-date with information about new training resources, special events and software issues.