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Using Clickers in the Classroom


Windward CC has several class sets of TurningPoint clickers that can be borred from the Media Center.

Turningpoint USB ReceiverSetting up the Receiving Computer

  • Install software (Mac or Windows) from the CD that comes with the kit. The software is also available from, although this requires you to register with the company.
  • Plug in the RF Receiver into an available USB port (pictured on the right)

Note for Macintosh Users running Office 2008

TurningPoint does not have a version of the software to run directly with PowerPoint 2008 on the Mac. Instead, you should download and install TurningPoint Anywhere, which allows you to use the clickers with any application.

Creating a PowerPoint Slide with TurningPoint

Run the TurningPoint application. Do not run PowerPoint directly, or you will not be able to use the TurningPoint software.

If the the TurningPoint software is installed properly, Powerpoint should have a TurningPoint Toolbar

The TurningPoint bar in PowerPoint allows you to create slides that ask a question, collect responses, and then display the results.

To create a new slide:

  • Click on the "slide" menu on the TurningPoint bar
  • Select the kind of questions and display you would like
  • On the new slide, enter the question and change the format as desired

Picture of the TurningPoint ClickerUsing the Clickers with PowerPoint

After starting TurningPoint to start PowerPoint, click on the presentation button on the TurningPoint bar to start the slide show. Note that you cannot run a TurningPoint slideshow when you click on the regular PowerPoint presentation button (on the bottom left of the screen). You must click on the TurningPoint presentation button.

The steps to use the clickers in obtain feedback are:

  • Run the slideshow from the TurningPoint bar
  • Navigate to your slide
  • Click on the "play" button on the TurningPoint controller - this opens the polling
  • To close the polling, click on the "stop" button
  • To see the results, advance to the next step in the slide by clicking on the right arrow key of your keyboard.

Using the Clickers with TurningPoint Anywhere

TurningPoint Anywhere is a stand-alone program designed to let you use clickers with any program. It does not require you to create slides and it does not require you to run PowerPoint. Instead, when you run TurningPoint Anywhere the program runs in the background and gives you a small control panel to control the clickers.

Tracking Students

Every clicker has a unique ID (located on the sticker on the back of the clicker). This number can be used to take attendance and give exams. If you want all of the student responses to be anonymous, then you simply do not keep track of the ID#.

  • For tracking to work, you must associate specific students to specific clickers. This can be done each class, or you can set up a class list in TurningPoint. To create a participant list:
    • open TurningPoint
    • Create a Participant List Using Participant List Assistant, which is located under the "Participant" menu.
    • You can also import information into a Participant List Assistant from an Excel file.
    • Name the list after your course, so that you can open it later
    • Note: for more information on participation lists, view the Turning manual (PDF)
  • When you ask a question, any question, the TurningPoint software will connect the responses to the clicker and save the information in a report. To create reports:
    • Under the "Tools" menu, click on "Turning Reports"
    • Find the report file that you want to view and open it
    • Generate the reports that you want to save. Reports include "Participant List"
    • Note: for more information on reports, view the TurningPoint manual (PDF)


Whether or not you keep track of which student was using which clickers, you can generate a TurningPoint report to see the responses.

First, you must save the session. These sessions can be referred to later, and will remain in the folder until someone deletes them. By default, the session will be named with the current date and time, but you can change that as desired.

Some uses include:

  • taking attendance - which requires students to use the same clicker throughout the course
  • evaluating an anonymous knowledge survey

Some Suggested Uses

  • Ask students how they are feeling before the class starts - this can also be a question to take attendance.
  • Get immediate feedback on a difficult topic to see if the class wants more discussion - simply ask "How well do you understand <insert topic>?" and use a Lickert scale. If many students admit to being confused, then try to cover the topic again.
  • Poll a controversial topic to see where students stand as a way to begin a class discussion.
  • Create a quick question to test if students understand a point
    • put a painting on a slide and then ask "What style of painting is this?"
    • put a molecule on a slide and ask students to identify it.
    • put several versions of a sentence on a slide and ask students which one is the best.
    • put a definition on a slide and ask students what word the definition applies to.
  • Ask students what topic from this class they would like you to cover again at the beginning of next class

Disabilities Issues

Clicker systems raise profound issues for accessibility. Students with disabilities may not know if their response was recorded or may have to deal with motor issues. While useful in a classroom, they should never be used for graded work unless a suitable accommodation is available. Contact Ann Lemke for help.

Related Links

  • Pathfinder to resources on Powerpoint
  • A story where clickers did not work from the Chronicle - the discussion board is also interesting