From building lessons to working with students to cultivate knowledge and enthusiasm, the hard work of creating and running a class falls squarely on the shoulders of faculty. With all of these responsibilities on their plate, figuring out how to effectively integrate instructional technology into their classrooms is often an overwhelming prospect.
That’s where Kelly Roark comes to the rescue.
A faculty support specialist and the coordinator for clickers at Northwestern University, Roark helps instructors sort through all of the technology tools available, acts as a guide toward finding the best solution for them and provides them with all of the resources they need.
Below, Roark shares helpful tips for supporting response technology, what instructors need to consider before getting started and what she thinks TurningPoint does best.
It’s been our recommended vendor since I’ve been here, so for about 10 years.
We talk about how their students will use clickers. We talk about whether they want their students to have a physical clicker or whether they want to allow the students to use their cell phones or their mobile devices. Usually, that’s a big conversation because that’s an important topic for many instructors here.
If they do want them to use the physical clickers, then we talk about how important it is for them to communicate to the bookstore to make sure they have enough, and to talk to their students to set expectations about precisely what they’ll need in class.
I really push them toward your Client Success Team because you have really good support, and our [Turning Technologies] success managers are really good with contacting instructors, walking them through the process and making sure they’re ready for class.
I like maintaining a good relationship with our reps. It’s nice to have Turning Technologies reps come out and do workshops before the start of the school year or quarter if possible, so we try to arrange to do that with plenty of advance time. And then I reach out to existing instructor users and let them know that your reps are going to be on campus if they have any questions.
Clickers are interesting because I think where it really affects teaching and learning is where you find a way to access questions that aren’t easily answered otherwise by just raising your hand. I think when you are getting into sensitive information or things people wouldn’t necessarily want to identify themselves with directly, you can reach a pretty interesting survey of your class.
I like when people use pair and share after a question. They might post the answers, the responses from the students, and then say, “Talk to your neighbor about whether you agree with what everyone’s come up with” or “How do you respond to these results?” I think that’s where it has the potential to be pretty interesting.
I do know that some instructors just love clickers. Some people here can’t imagine teaching without them because they provide so much necessary information. I’ve heard instructors say that clickers have changed the way they teach for the better.