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For the month of September, SCV had a free trial of a TurningPoint 20 "clicker" system from Turning Technologies. At the 02 SEP 2009 SCV ExCom meeting John Swan gave a brief summary of how it worked and showed the clicker kit. At the 07 OCT 2009 SCV ExCom meeting, John presented the results and ran a brief trial; the results are available here (PDF).  
In September 2009, 9 successful trials of the Audience Response system were run. In each case surveys were done immediately following the presentation and speaker Q&A so as to minimally impact the evening plans. The 30 SEP 2009 PELS meeting also included some warm-up questions from the speaker and given before the start of the presentation. The results are all available in PDF below.
  • The TurningPoint software is integrated into PowerPoint, so a presenter can pose a question and get the audience's response within about 15 seconds.
  • It requires installation of the freely downloadable software. Once started in PowerPoint it is extremely easy to use for simple audience responses.
  • Any number of "clickers" (ResponseCard RF keypads) can feed input to a USB connected RF receiver during the approximately 15 seconds.
  • The presenter can choose to display demographic results, plotting one response against another (as seen in the results)
  • The best value from this system is when questions are embedded into the presentation. Using it at the beginning of the presentation is also good for learning the audience's interests and for increasing mental participation in the audience.
  • Names can be assigned to clickers if used in training situations where more extensively used.
  • The IEEE Microwave Theory and Techniques Society on the East Coast has had a system since December 2008 for use with the IMS Symposium with these comments.

The Audience Response system was favorably received. Officers and presenters that were apprehensive at first expressed their delight after the brief trial, noting that they could use it to query attendees on Chapter related issues. Notably, some presenters that gave their survey questions only minutes before the start of the meeting asked afterward for the results.

This is a recommendation that SCV Section consider having John Swan put together an official proposal for purchasing a system that can be "checked-out" on an as-needed basis by the Chapters. The focus this past month has been on trialing the system and more time is needed to think through how this would be managed for the Chapters, training, ownership, etc. Many Chapter officers will be consulted during this proposal construction phase.