So, we used the clickers from Turning Technologies in the classroom today. Chris wanted to give a quick review grade for the work in 5th grade Geometry and she wanted to give a Spelling test in 6th grade that would be similar to the type that the students would see during our standardized tests.
So, using the TurningPoint software (which comes with the clickers, or you can download from here) she made some tests. The Geometry test had a question and 3 possible answers (A, B, or C). The Spelling test was a little different in that it asked which word was spelled correctly and then gave 4 options for each word (A, B, C, or D).
The TurningPoint software is pretty slick in that, using PowerPoint, you put up the question and you can see a box in the top right of the screen that tells you polling is open.
The students hit the letter that they think is correct (you can hit the button as many times as you want but only the 1st click is the one that records) and the box tells you how many responses it has received (the receiver is a USB dongle plugged into the computer and has good range in our classrooms). There is also a question mark button on the clickers. If you hit that button the user feedback number will go up one. You can't tell which one it is, but you can clearly see, without interruption, that someone has a question. Once you have all the clickers' answers, you can mouse click the screen (or touch the SMART board to slide advance) and a graph (which ever graph you chose in the setup - there are bar and pie options) will show immediate results of the overall answers. No individual clicks are shown, you can just see how many people chose answer 1, 2, and 3. But the students still liked to see that they were, or were not the only people to choose that option. We had cheering and ohhs when they saw how many clicked the choices. Using the software you can also tell the computer which one is the correct answer (the format is different if you are using Office 2003 or 2007) and it will basically grade the test for you. Since our students each have a number (for text books and such) we just made sure that they each got the clicker with their own number. You can also set up groups for each grade with student's names (we haven't gotten this far yet) so you know which students answered which question. After the presentation is complete you go through the information using the Participation Monitor. The results show each question, each clicker, and what answer that clicker chose. Chris had more set up work before the test, but after the test the work is done. The software will tell which clicker got the wrong answer for each question.
We are going through a training session next week so we are looking forward to learning how to use the clickers more effectively. Stay tuned for more info.