Friday, June 12, 2009

Audience Response Systems – What are they? How would I use it?

At the NACAA AM/PIC in Portland in September the Turning Point audience response systems will be used for everything from selection of door prize winners to evaluation of sessions thanks to a partnership between NACAA and Turning Technologies. While many of you are already using this technology in your program development, others are asking what it is and how you might use it to enhance your programs. We hope to provide answers for you through this and other releases as well as through the demonstrations at AM/PIC.

What is it and how does it work?

lg_response_cards_RF.jpgThe audience response system we will use will work with special software that you download onto your computer, a receiver and a responder card. When you check in at AM/PIC you will be assigned a responder card which you will use during the conference and then return prior to your departure. Computers with evaluations already loaded will be used in each of the sessions. You will simply use your responder card to answer the questions that will appear as part of a PowerPoint presentation. It’s as easy as using your television remote. Committee chairs will receive training during the committee luncheon on Sunday in preparation for their workshops.

How is it beneficial?

Audience response systems allow you to receive immediate feedback. They are frequently used in large classroom settings to conduct “attendance” quizzes. They can be used to gauge an audience’s understanding of the topic so you know whether the message is getting across or to provide other input during a presentation. You may use them as a simple ice-breaker to get the audience involved in a presentation and keep them involved throughout the presentation. At past AM/PICs you may recall the paper evaluation you completed at the end of each workshop. The committee chairs collected these and then tabulated the responses by hand and entered them into a spreadsheet. With this system, the tabulation will be complete and the responses will be stored in a spreadsheet before the last participant leaves the workshop allowing our committee chairs more time to spend addressing programmatic issues.

For more information, visit the Turning Technologies website at In our next article we will share ideas from educators who have audience response systems on ways to incorporate it into your educational program.

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