Teaching Technologies

TurningPoint (polling)

TurningPoint is polling software that enables students to ‘vote’ or respond to questions in classrooms and lecture theatres using ‘clickers’ and/or smartphones, tablet computers or laptops to make responses. TurningPoint can help make teaching in classrooms and lecture theatres more interactive. It can be used, for example, to survey views, assess understanding, group revision, and to give learners more control of the content or pace of lectures.


A blog is a website which usually takes the form of a series of posts arranged in reverse-chronologocal order, i.e. the most recent post appears at the top of the page. Students writing their own blogs, commenting on other people’s blogs, and consulting blogs written by experts in their field are common learning activities in Higher Education today.

Classroom Response Systems – ‘clickers’

Types of Questions

Many instructors see multiple-choice questions as limited to testing students’ recall of facts. However, multiple-choice clicker questions can actually serve many other purposes in the class, including assessing students’ higher-order thinking skills. Since clicker questions can be used not only to assess students but to engage them, some very effective clicker questions are quite different than multiple-choice questions that might appear on exams.

Here are a few types of clicker questions.

Recall Questions: These questions ask students to recall facts, concepts, or techniques relevant to class. They are often used to see if students did the reading, remember important points from prior classes, or have memorized key facts. They rarely generate discussion, however, and don’t require higher-order thinking skills.

How Slideshare spoiled my post on Social Media

I’ve been meaning to write an article about social media and learning for a long time. I’d planned to write about the benefits of wikis for collaborative group tasks; the joys of reflecting on one’s own learning with blogs; the ease with which we can share and discuss on social networks; and the plethora of still and moving imagery available on sites such as Flickr and YouTube. I was intending to demystify the world of social media for our avid readers. Instead I will simply link to a presentation about social media by Sarah Stewart.

Sarah is Professional Development Officer at Australian College of Midwives and she spoke to us a while ago about social media in higher education. She kindly and very sensibly (because her work and enthusiasm is made available to a far wider audience) puts her presentations on Slideshare.

I can view lots of Sarah’s presentations on Slideshare – she has 67 on there at the moment. On each one I can leave a comment, if I feel so inclined, or I can respond to someone else’s comments. By clicking on the ‘Share’ button on any presentation I can easily email the URL of the presentation to anyone and can share it on any Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook accounts I may have.Sarah Stewart's profile page on Slideshare

What’s the difference between wikis and blogs?

For several years now wikis and blogs have both been widely used in Higher Education. Both are platforms for easily publishing material to the web and both provide a platform for feedback. Both are ideal for learner-centred activities with learners taking part in collaborative tasks aiding knowledge construction. And both can be used to deliver rich content for learners to absorb.