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Clickers or mobile? Or should you use both?

Clickers or Mobile? Should we use both? 

Statistic show for 2017, the number of smartphone users in South Africa is estimated to reach 18.48 million and is expected to reach over 25 million by 2022. According to the Pew Research Center, 94% of adults in the United States ages 18 to 29 own a smartphone.

It is not surprising, then, that the debate over allowing students to use phones and other types of electronic devices in the classroom is as passionate as ever.

Interestingly though just last year, a New York Times op-ed encouraging instructors to completely ban laptops and other electronic devices during lessons provoked numerous spirited responses ranging from enthusiastic agreement to vehement opposition. A study recently published in Educational Psychology asserting that in-class cell phone use results in lower test scores has prompted similar reactions.

Over the years Turning Technologies has partnered with instructors whose opinions on this topic span the entire spectrum. Those experiences taught us an important lesson: A response solution that offers both clickers and mobile responding options serves the needs of everyone in ways that mobile-only systems cannot.

Lesson 1 Learnt – Build a System to Accommodate Both

Turning Technologies has considered what they’ve learnt partnering with instructors whose opinions support both arguments when creating the new TurningPoint 8. The requirement was a response solution that offers both clickers and mobile options while serving the needs of everyone in ways that mobile-only systems cannot.

Lesson 2: Suprise, the Demand for Clickers Remains!

So far in 2017, Turning Technologies analysis of its TurningPoint 8 users show some interesting results.

  • 74% of TurningPoint sessions used only clickers
  • 15% used only mobile
  • 11% were hybrid (both mobile and clickers).

This means that instructors used clickers in 85% of their sessions.

Despite the continuing growth in mobile usage, the data shows that most instructors are still more comfortable with clickers or prefer to offer students the option of using clickers.  Accordingly, usage of response technology will be higher at institutions that support both clicker and mobile environments.

ResponseCard RF LCD Keypad

An Advocate for Clickers 

Meshagae Hunte-Brown, a teaching professor at Drexel University, uses TurningPoint to facilitate not only engagement, but also frequent testing in her large biology classes. This allows her to test students every week, rather than only a few times every semester.

Hunte-Brown does not let students respond with web-enabled devices, and instead requires them to purchase one of our full-featured clickers.

“There are mobile options, which I no longer use because I can’t have a student on a cell phone during a test,” she said. “Now I have the security of this device that allows for automated grading, but also really cuts down on opportunities to cheat.”

ResponseWare

An Advocate for Mobile

On the other end of the spectrum, Jim Mitroka, an associate professor of pharmaceutical sciences at Palm Beach Atlantic University, elected to use a fully mobile solution in his classes. This choice was primarily a matter of convenience, since students at the university’s Gregory School of Pharmacy already have tablets available to them.

Mitroka was less concerned with high-stakes testing, and more focused on engaging students in his classes with active learning approaches like the flipped classroom model.

As he puts it, “Getting students engaged is the problem that is solved by using TurningPoint student polling.”

An Advocate for Both

Finally, some instructors choose to empower the students themselves to decide which response option is best for them. Senior Lecturer in Music and Director of Learning and Teaching in the School of Arts at the University of Surrey Christopher Wiley, for example, always offers students the choice of using either the TurningPoint app or a clicker simply because “with the higher student fees, students cannot always be expected to own a smartphone.”

How do I choose?

You should consider a number of factors when deciding whether to use mobile devices, clickers or both.

  • IT infrastructure: First, consider the IT infrastructure where you will be running your polling sessions. Can the Wi-Fi network reliably handle simultaneous responses from hundreds of students? If not, clickers may be the way to go.
  • Affordability: Cost is another significant factor to consider. As an initial step, standardizing on one response system acceptable to all instructors is the best way to save students money so students do not have to purchase multiple subscriptions or clickers.
  • Access to web-enabled devices: Beyond that, do all of your students have smartphones or laptops? If not and you are interested in a mobile-only solution, do you have a plan to supply web-enabled devices to those students?
  • Faculty opinions: Finally, faculty opinions should be weighed carefully. If everyone agrees on using mobile devices or clickers, the choice is easy. If there are opposing views, then a hybrid option is an effective way to decrease conflict and increase usage, whether for simple engagement or high-stakes testing.

At the end of the day, every organization’s situation is unique, and its administrators and faculty members have to decide which response option is best for them. Clients are not shy about telling us what they want, and we have heard you loud and clear: A response system should not limit your choices, but instead provide the flexibility to support you and your organization’s needs, both today and into the future

Chat to us today we are already working with 14 universities in South Africa, we want to see you succeed.

The original article was published by Turning Technologies and is available to read here.

Clickers or mobile? Or should you use both?2018-09-13T15:52:04+02:00

The Secret Weapons of an Event Organiser

Do you have the Event Organiser Secret Weapon?

Whether you are an experienced event organiser or just starting out as an event professional I don’t need to tell you how many moving parts there are when it comes to successfully orchestrating large-scale conference or events.

Simply put the best events I have been involved with share the following core ingredients:

  • An dynamic and passionate team of orgainsers
  • Knowledgeable and experienced service providers
  • A fantastic venue
  • An investment in the right technologies

Most event organisers have all been there, doing everything on your own, juggling too many balls, eventually dropping one or all of them resulting in failure, unhappy customers and disappointed audiences.

Is technology enabling or disabling you? Could it become your secret weapon?

Just over a decade ago I identified that we could help. We could provide technology that could become the event organisers side-kick, their secret weapon. Our company uses technology to relieve some of the greatest challenges events face and allow organisers to focus on what matters most, creating those amazing events.

Having serviced thousands of events across 12 countries with hundreds of customers and walking alongside many event professionals we have learnt a lot about what works and what doesn’t at events.

Some food for thought around typical challenges faced by every event organiser.

Delight your Audience with Real Engagement

So, the event starts, uh oh, your speaker is dull, now what? Your audience begins fidgeting and looking at their phones, they are bored, can you do something? In the words of Obama, Yes you can! Avoid this situation by using the right technology.
Make dull speakers seem brighter and great speakers rock stars using technology. Connect them with their audience using audience response technology or an event app. Change the one directional monologue into an engaging multi-directional conversation, it’ll make a HUGE difference, I promise!

Most people fear public speaking, roving mics are only really used by the small minority who are comfortable to do so. Consequently, you lose many potentially valuable insights and conversations. There are better other ways to create engagement.

Live Polls to the Rescue

The standard modus operandi in a presentation is for a speaker to ask questions and then three or four roving mics dart around. What if you could level the playing field and make participation fun?

How about inviting everyone anonymously to participate and answer questions where their responses are instantly displayed? Using an event app or wireless handheld devices your whole audience can respond in real-time, compare their answers, reflect on the experience and perhaps even start debates.

Real-time Comments and Questions for the Win

What about those who don’t have the confidence to ask the speaker questions directly? Using the ‘ask a question’ function in an event app can help. Using it the whole audience can pose questions and comments anonymously. The really cool feature of this is the option to ‘up vote’ your favourite comment or questions. This creates a really dynamic experience for everyone! By voting the audience organically prioritises what they feel is most important and the speaker can then address the actual most burning issues rather than assuming what’s important or unknown to them.

The Million Dollar Questions

How was your response rate to the last event survey you created? You’re lucky if you got 30% of the audience to actually complete are return the survey forms. Beyond that, someone still has to collect them all and begin the time consuming and costly exercise of data capturing, collating and building a report. Some don’t even bother as the required effort outweighs the value. With an event app, you can have active surveys running all the time, you’ll find some participants will complete them whilst exploring the event app on their own. You can also use automated direct notifications or emails with direct links to the surveys, this will increase your completion rate because it’s effortless and easy to do. Even better you can incentivise the completion of the feedback with surprise giveaways or run a competition for those who complete the surveys.

Give the Event Life before its Begins and long after it Ends

Have you ever calculated the cost of your event per hour? It’s a sure way to raise your blood pressure and anxiety! When you use an event app you automatically extend the longevity of your event. Firstly, you begin communicating way before it starts. Develop your pre-event strategy, communicate and publish what’s most important and be sure to track open rated and page views. Once you send out the first communication everyone installs your event app, effectively placing your brand on every participants personal device. How’s that for exposure!

Post event the event app remains on everyone’s device as a point of reference and a great resource. It becomes a digital directory of all who attended, photos of newly made acquaintances and business prospects. It contains the presentation content, records of conversations, photos and shared memories of the experience.

Your Event Ninja, One Stop Solution and Secret Weapon!

The Event App isn’t purely to engage with an audience and collate data, it’s far more useful for you as an event organizer. Think of it as your program on steroids with a truly interactive functionality, a mobile information kiosk customised for each person that fits in their pocket that makes everything easier, it is your ninja sidekick, your secret weapon!

Let’s look at some key benefits:

1. Event Registration and RSVPs are all efficiently managed digitally with integration into the event app, from the moment you first connect with your audience you can already start measuring their interaction with your meeting and driving behaviours.

2. Digital Agenda, Speaker Bios, Maps and all pertinent Event Information is conveniently accessible on everyone’s personal device. No more delegates desperately looking for the event organiser to ask them questions, they just consult the info kiosk in their pocket!

3. It’s good for the environment. No need for those expensive printed programs! For just about the same print budget you can have an Event App! The horror of a last-minute changes are eliminated, no more printing inserts, just update the Event App and send out a notification!

4. Gamification. Use a strategy that taps into some of the core drivers of our human behaviour that revolve around status, achievement, and rewards. Create games that help you achieve event objectives. Use the event app to draw attention to certain sets of information or content. Create games and competitions based on the need of the particular client such as scavenger hunts, quizzes and networking activities which promote communication amongst delegates. Download our Ultimate Guide to Gamification here to learn more.

5. Communication. Delegates can use the app to connect with other delegates, join chat rooms to discuss topical issues and participate in live polls, ask speakers questions, answer surveys and read material ahead of time at their leisure. Event alerts notify guests of any important information when they need to know it.

6. Your Digital Business Card. It becomes a digital business card for them and everybody else who’s there, just like a phone book but now with photos! After the event, you can continue conversations, with the ability to direct message participants and speakers.

Summary

If you are in the business of planning events, there is no better assistant than a reliable piece of technology to keep track of all these moving parts. It becomes your one-stop-list where every single piece of the puzzle is collated and allows you to put together the memorable and flawless events your clients crave!

Chat to us today to be your technology partner to great events.

This article was first posted here and titled ‘ The Secret Weapons of an Event Organiser’

The Secret Weapons of an Event Organiser2018-09-11T17:42:26+02:00

7 Tips To Make Sure Your Event Doesn’t Suck

7 Tips to Make Sure your Event Doesn’t Suck

No event organiser wants the only memory of their event to be the food, unless it’s a food event that is. What we all want is a memorable event that delegates continue to talk about long after its finished and if the event is repeated that they all come back for more.

Based on our experience in supplying over 1,000 events with our services, we’ve summarised seven key tips on creating memorable and valuable events that will keep your delegates coming back:

1. Answer the 4 ‘W’s – Why, What, Who, Where and When?

Why?
Many events fail because they are created based on a ‘wonderful idea’ without much thought as to a purpose. Without a clearly defined purpose, objective or a clear business reason you will be doomed for failure.

What?
Consider the type of event that will best achieve your objective and engage with your audience.

Who?
Who is your audience and what will appeal most to them? Where do they live and how will they access your event?

Where and when?
Location, location, location! Research shows most declined RSVPs are due to an inconvenient date, time and location. Be sure to select a location that is easy to access and will meet the physical and technological requirements for your event, have a ‘plan B’ in the event of any unforeseen circumstances.

2. Planning – say what?

Pay sufficient attention to planning! Plan ahead and create a timeline from start to finish. Your plan should include budgets, logistics, content and promotion. Identify and manage your risks and where possible account for any unexpected situations that may arise in your budget.

Use the cloud! There are numerous online collaboration tools, many free, where you can create and share all the resources linked to your event. This way you can collaborate with your team, delegate tasks effectively and ensure everyone is always up to date.

3. Metrics, Metrics, Metrics, did I say Metrics?

The devil is in the details! If you want to evaluate, you must first measure. The fundamental metrics that should be tracked are: budget, performance, return on investment, and client satisfaction. Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback.

4. Engagement, no seriously they need it!

‘Tell me and I forget.  Teach me and I remember.  Involve me and I learn.’

– Benjamin Franklin

If your event has no plan for engagement don’t bother having it. Engagement is no longer a nice to have but rather an imperative and your delegates will expect it. Allow time for meaningful networking. Participate Technologies are experts in audience engagement, Contact us today to explore the best ways for you to engage with your audience.

5. Content is not king. QUALITY CONTENT is!

In a shallow world of distraction and vast amounts of data, your key differentiator should be the value you offer. Be sure to research your content well, find the best professionals to share their knowledge and secure them well in advance.

6. Calm Down! Chill out…

It may sound silly, but it is essential. Try to be one step ahead; something will not go according to plan and you need to be ready for that. A fit of panic or rage is not going to help the situation and only add more stress. If you are able to stay calm you can respond and think clearly, rather than react irrationally. You thereby minimise the impact of the crisis and your delegates and stakeholders will be none the wiser to the mishap.

7. COMMUNICATE! Yep it’s that simple.

Make sure delegates can get the information they need – when they need it. If potential delegates have a question, you want to make it easy for them to get the answers they need quickly or even immediately, before they forget their question or move onto the next one.

An Event App is a fantastic way to ensure everyone has the information they require, which will make the event organisers life a lot easier! The Participate Event App can guide delegates to the venue, provide any necessary details, as well as host the agenda and information about speakers. They can manage their catering preferences, earmark speakers and use the app to facilitate great networking opportunities with other delegates.

In Summary

Ensuring that your delegates keep talking about your event brings the audience and speaker closer together and guarantees a better experience for all concerned.  Keeping delegates in touch with the content on the day and engaging with them in real time is truly beneficial to your business and to them personally.

Participate Technologies has found a way accomplish this, using innovative technology.

Post event, all material used or presented can be digitally delivered to delegates, creating an opportunity for delegates to engage with each other and speakers to encourage cooperation and develop new business opportunities.

Chat to us today to be your technology partner to great events.

7 Tips To Make Sure Your Event Doesn’t Suck2018-09-11T13:21:20+02:00

What Students Want

What a student wants

The ONE thing every student wants from their lecturer

Technology is embedded in a Millennials daily life and often treated as an extension of their bodies. It makes sense then, that technology would play a vital part in their learning habits. The traditional methods of training are no longer effective for millennials, in fact we don’t even think they would know what an over-head projector was.

The truth about Millennials:

Learner attention spans are shorter, lecturers are completing with Facebook, Snap chats and messages from friends. The ideal learning environment involves less lecture time but demands more collaboration with peers. Using an authentic assessments and group project work are ideal for Millennials. This group of learners have been raised in a less authoritative environment, where decisions and actions have been constantly justified. Learners thrive on personal relationships and they expect the older generation to show more interest in their lives and not just teach. Millennials are experts at multitasking so their learning environment should enable this.

Engagement is what they want. Millennials want to be taught, not lectured. They crave participation, not parrot fashion learning.

In many of the classrooms and lecture halls we have observed the unfortunate reality of a massive disconnect remains between the teacher and student in the classroom.

One of the best technologies we have seen addressing the lack of engagement is Student Response Technology (commonly referred to as clickers).

Using clickers lecturers can engage, measure and create a collaborative learning environment where millennials will actively participate, learn and thrive.

Student Response Technology is a stimulating and affordable technology that allows all students to participate equally whether they are confident or shy in class contributing in a fun yet measurable fashion. Students can use clickers for individual work and participate in group activities. Consequently, lecturers can be more agile in their teaching, accurately and immediately gauging student understanding of the topics being discussed whilst tracking individual performance and keeping the whole class engaged.

Let us help you change the four walls of your classroom into an engaging environment that promotes learning and sharing. Complete the below and we will get in touch

What Students Want2017-09-11T16:33:10+02:00

3 ways to gain better insight from your audience

So you decide to use an audience response system at your event, what do you do next?

As always, firstly we recommend defining your objectives for using audience response; this will provide you with a measurable result.

When it comes to audience interaction, have you thought about tracking responses to individual audience members? There are many pros and cons to deciding between anonymous responses vs. tracked responses. Consider the below 3 options:

 

  1. Tracking Responses

Tracking is sometimes necessary for testing or quiz style events to identify winners or assess content knowledge of employees in a product knowledge test.

The benefit – you get an individual report on each participant’s responses.

The negative – if you are doing a culture survey or asking questions that you want honest feedback on, participants may be reluctant to respond in fear of losing their job, being ridiculed by their manager or being singled out within the audience.

 

  1. Anonymous Responses

This option is great when you really want the truth.

Great for obtaining feedback from customers on new product development, especially before launching it! With honest feedback from culture surveys you can make far better decisions making changes within your organisation. This list could go on for pages.

Audience #hack – whilst remaining anonymous be strategic and ask questions that profile your audience with demographic options about region, employment, gender, division etc. This will provide an extra layer of meaningful data when interpreting your response data, offering insights into response trends from different sub-groups within your audience.

 

  1. A combination

This is a strategy that often provides the best audience insight. If you need to track responses for some of the questions but would still really like honest feedback for other questions start by asking the questions you would like to track the responses for then, ask the audience to swap devices with the person next to them! This will give the audience the assurance their responses to any of the following questions are anonymous.

For more audience insight and tips on how to get the most from your audience at a meeting contact us, we’d be glad to help!

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3 ways to gain better insight from your audience2016-12-14T15:30:46+02:00

Deliberating the future of Education in Africa with Student Response Technology

Deliberating the future of Education in Africa with Student Response Technology

Participate Technologies were proud to sponsor the recent Distance Education and Teacher Education in Africa (DETA) Conference held at the Mauritius Institute of Education, Réduit, Mauritius 20 -24 July 2015.

David Wilson introducing the clickers for the first time at DETA 2015

David Wilson introducing the clickers for the first time at DETA 2015

The sixth of its kind, the conference was formed to offer a unique platform for educationalists to share knowledge and deliberate on educational issues. This year’s theme was exploring the role educationists could play in creating “The Future We Want” for education on our continent Africa.

The conference was attended by over 170 delegates from 24 different countries which made it the largest yet and we were privilege to be a part of it. For many of the participants this was their first exposure to audience response technology (commonly referred to as clickers in education).

The delegates’ experience of voting in the audience with their handheld clickers and seeing the live results displayed on the screens created somewhat of a spectacle. Many “oohh’s and aahh’s” could be heard from the auditorium as the participants enjoyed the gratifying experience of seeing their response choice displayed on the screen comparing it against what their peers had chosen as responses.

Using the clickers to ask questions of the audience during the keynote session transformed the passive one-direction communication of the presentations into an active two-way participative and engaging experience.The display of many responses were met with delight when consistent majority votes came showing unison in thinking around certain issues.

A polarised response displayed from the audience indicating  a clear difference in opinion from the audience

A polarised response displayed from the audience indicating a clear difference in opinion from the audience

On occasion perceptions were changed as the audience vote was met with surprise as the responses displayed a different reality, presenting polarisation in thinking around certain issues thus concluding there is much work still to be done in addressing the challenges that the African continent faces in education.

The subthemes of the conference were;
1. Teaching children in diverse African contexts
2. Pedagogies that will achieve “The Future We Want” for education in Africa
3. The role and impact of technology on teacher development
4. Quality in education as a prerequisite to establish “The Future We Want” for education in Africa
Learn more about the conference by visiting the official website www.deta.up.ac.za

For more information about how clickers are being used in South African universities click here to view the student response system information pack.

You can also watch the presentation delivered by Professor Jan Verschoor on how teaching with clickers improves your ability to teach large classes.

This article was originally posted as a press release on IT Web.

Deliberating the future of Education in Africa with Student Response Technology2016-12-14T15:30:54+02:00