Classroom success tips: Preparing students using interactive clicker technology

When preparing for the beginning of a semester, instructors let their students know what textbooks they need, where they can locate additional resources and what is expected of them in the course. But are the students always adequately equipped to use required interactive technology, such as TurningPoint, in their classes? Dr. Meshagae Hunte-Brown, Full Teaching Professor in the Biology department at Drexel University, takes a little time at the start of any course to ensure that her students are ready to click in from the beginning.

Dr. Meshagae Hunte-Brown

Dr. Brown has developed and currently teaches a range of non-major courses in biology and environmental science. Each term, she teaches four to five courses, ranging from 80 to 700 students.  She uses PowerPoint polling during class, and she also uses self-paced polling to administer tests to her students.  She has successfully used clickers in her courses for over a decade and has graciously classroom success tips for using TurningPoint in the classroom:

What steps do you take to get students prepared and comfortable with using TurningPoint?

“I take a little bit of class time and give them a practice test.  After the practice test, I upload grades to Blackboard so that students can immediately see if they have received their grades and if they are properly registered for class.”  Dr. Brown explained that this helps to eliminate anxiety and allows the students to get familiar with clickers.

Additionally, if students experience any issues after the practice test, she provides them the information they need to rectify the situation immediately. “By the second class, students are fully registered and ready to go.”

Hands holding a Turning Technologies QT2 clicker

What documentation or resources do you provide to your students?

The Turning Technologies Blackboard registration document and video are both posted online.”

How far in advance do you notify students of TurningPoint usage?

“Blackboard Learn opens a week before classes start, so I post my syllabus a week ahead of time.  I also send a welcome email at this time giving additional details.”

How have you seen the use of TurningPoint improve engagement, motivation and learning?

“I have very large classes with a lot of space in the room.  TurningPoint allows me to pull them in and re-set.  It helps reassure them that they are learning; they get excited, cheer and high-five.”  Occasionally, she will ask questions that she expects students to answer incorrectly. “This reveals to them that they need to tune in even more.”

Because Dr. Brown takes the time at the beginning of the semester to ensure students are prepared and fully registered for class, it saves a lot valuable time for her and her students in the long run.  Any registration issues are resolved from the start, the students are comfortable with the technology and she can focus on her courses.

For more information on how Dr. Brown uses TurningPoint in her classroom, take a look at her webinar, Students, students, students!  All we ever hear about is students!  Clickers are for our benefit, too!