Christopher Wiley is Senior Lecturer in Music and Director of Learning and Teaching in the School of Arts at the University of Surrey, where he has oversight of learning and teaching matters in relation to 10 different arts disciplines and some 900 students.
He needed a way to engage students, particularly when teaching topics with which they may be less familiar, such as advanced areas of classical music history. In such instances, he found that some students were reluctant to speak out in front of a room full of their peers due to their relative lack of knowledge.
Wiley introduced the TurningPoint student response system into the classroom, and found that this gave confidence to the minority. Far from continuing to keep quiet, the students used response technology as a springboard to voice their opinions. Once they had voted and discovered that others in the class shared their views, conversations started to flow, helping to develop a deeper, student-centered understanding of new topics.
TurningPoint student polling also allowed Wiley to implement a variety of pedagogical strategies that enhanced learning. For example, he split his class up into teams, and used TurningPoint to support gamification, in which the students voted for the correct answers using student response clickers and scored points. He noted that “the teams really worked together and collaborated using game-based learning to get the correct answers and earn points.”
Further, using flipped classroom techniques in tandem with TurningPoint’s demographic comparison feature, he was able to track and compare student progress.
“TurningPoint is so flexible, as everything is embedded in PowerPoint®; alternatively, Anywhere Polling enables me to use the student response system alongside whatever is on my desktop,” he said.
Wiley always offers students the option of using either the Turning Technologies student response system app on their own mobile phone or a student clicker device, simply because “with the higher student fees, students cannot always be expected to own a smartphone.”
“The response to TuringPoint is overwhelmingly positive,” he said. He elaborated that TurningPoint is “easy-to-use, enables inclusive and interactive learning, yields immediate results that inform the lecture and evens out the voices as everybody is able to contribute equally.”
The use of student response technology is particularly important because the pedagogical possibilities it provides are not offered by any other learning tool, and it is clear from the students’ reaction that it substantially enhances their learning experience.