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Actively engaging students is crucial for developing deep, long-term learning. This page features various strategies for creating this kind of engagement in HKS courses.
Classroom response systems (clickers) can be a powerful interactive teaching tool. The classroom response system in use at HKS is TurningPoint. HKS Media Services (HKS login required) maintains an inventory of TurningPoint clickers that can be reserved for class use.
Below are some resources and strategies for using clickers in HKS classrooms.
Clickers are an audience polling system that allow students to participate in presentations or lectures by submitting responses to interactive questions. Clickers are sometimes called "classroom response" or "audience response" systems. HKS Media Services has an inventory of 600 Turning Technologies’ TurningPoint clickers. These can be checked out for class use in sets of 100.
As of Spring 2012 HKS has a new model of TurningPoint clicker devices that allows for expanded response types including numeric, fill-in-the-blank, and essay responses.
Using clickers well involves consideration of why and how your use of them might enhance your students' learning.
Why use clickers in your class?
Clickers can facilitate learning in a variety of ways by:
How to use clickers as a tool for learning
Instructors use clickers in a variety of ways depending on their goals for the class, time available, individual teaching styles, and course content.
Types of activities might include:
Types of questions might include:
Designing effective questions
How to run TurningPoint software
Creating a basic question slide
Below are the common reasons for glitches and ways to minimize their likelihood.
Recommendation: If you have not tried the clickers in advance of your class, borrow some from Media Services to familiarize yourself before going in front of a class.
Three overall policies apply to the use of clickers in HKS courses:
There are two ways in which clickers can be reserved and checked out for use in HKS classrooms. Both utilize the on-line reservation system Spacebook (HKS login required):
The "Media Services - Equipment Check-Out" option:
From the menu bar at the top of the Spacebook home page, select: Services → Media Services - Equipment Check-Out
Enter your information for "when and where" and "location details" into boxes on the left, then click "Get Services". The "Details" box will appear on the right. Fill in "Event" and "Client" details sections.
For "Equipment Check-Out", check "Audience Response System (TurningPoint Clickers)" and indicate how many clickers you’d like to borrow (it's a good idea to request a few more than the number of students you have). Then press "Submit Reservation".
The "Request a Room" option:
NOTE: in order to use this option, you’ll need access to the original reservation made for the classroom. To get that access, you’ll need to become a "delegate" of Matt Lincoln in Spacebook. To become Matt’s delegate, send an e-mail request to Kathy Papalimberis at Ekaterini_Papalimberis@hks.harvard.edu
From the menu bar at the top of the Spacebook home page, select: Request Rooms → Request a Room
After completing the needed information in the rest of the reservation, go to the "Media Services" area. Under "A/V Presentation", check "Audience Response System (TurningPoint Clickers)" and indicate how many clickers you’d like to borrow (it's a good idea to request a few more than the number of students you have). Then submit the reservation.
Borrow clickers, learn how to set up using them in my classroom, get technical assistance during class time.
Stephen Kobialka, HKS Media Services
Get assistance on how and why to use clickers in my course, designing effective questions, creating slides. Learn more about how other HKS Faculty are using clickers.
Josh Bookin, SLATE
Vanderbilt Center for Teaching:
Bruff, Derek. Teaching with Classroom Response Systems: Creating Active Learning Environments (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2009) - Available for check-out from SLATE library. Contact Allison Pingree at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Selected Materials from Eric Mazur, Balkanski Professor of Physics & Applied Physics, Harvard University
Mazur, Eric. Peer Instruction: A User's Manual. Series in Educational Innovation (Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1997).
This volume is available for faculty use: Contact Allison Pingree at email@example.com or 617-496-6255.
Mazur, Eric, "Farewell, Lecture?" Science, 323, 50-51 (2009).
Mazur, Eric and Jessica Watkins, "Just-in-Time Teaching and Peer Instruction." In Just in Time Teaching Across the Disciplines, Ed. Scott Simkins and Mark Maier, pp. 39-62 (Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing, 2009).
Crouch, Catherine H. and Eric Mazur, "Peer Instruction: Ten Years of Experience and Results." American Journal of Physics, 69, 970-977 (2001).
Interactive Teaching: Promoting Better Learning Using Peer Instruction and Just-in-Time Teaching, Pearson Prentice Hall (2006). http://www.teachingdvd.com/
Copies of this DVD are available for faculty use: Contact Allison Pingree at firstname.lastname@example.org or 617-496-6255.