TurningPoint or LectureTools?

Want to make your classroom lectures more engaging? This semester UK is running a pilot program for LectureTools - interactive polling software designed to help your students engage with course material in your classroom. The TurningPoint clicker system, which you may be familiar with, has already been in use at UK for quite some time. You may be asking: Which one should I use? Which one is better? Are there other options? Of course, this depends completely on your needs! In today's post we'll compare TurningPoint, LectureTools, and a third-party polling software called Poll Everywhere to help you decide which of these systems best fits your needs.

Side-by-Side Comparison

 

Response Method

Clickers or paid internet subscriptions (both student-purchased)

Internet (full access) or text message (only for answering questions).

Internet or text message

Blackboard Integration

Yes!

Yes!

No.

Powerpoint Integration

Yes!

Yes! Upload a premade powerpoint, then add activities.

Yes!

Pysical Student Presence

Required, unless using TurningPoint Anywhere (instructor must register for this).

Not Required

Not Required

Pace of Instruction

Instructor-driven. Like ordinary lectures, polls are timed or closed by the instructor.

Students may browse lecture slides at their own pace before, during, and after lecture.

Poll does not close.

Activities Available

Students answer questions. Possible questions depend on the type of Responseware you require of students-- a basic clicker can only answer multiple choice, true/false, etc., while a more expensive clicker (or an internet subscription on a smart device) will have more options.

Question types supported: multiple choice, numeric response, short answer, true/false, matching, essay, demographic assignment, and priority ranking.

Students answer questions: Multiple choice, free response, ordered list, and image quiz.

Students can also mark slides as "confusing," ask interactive questions visible but anonymous to peers, and take personal notes on lecture slides.

Students answer questions: multiple choice, free response.

Grading

Optional for all questions; Blackboard-compatible.

Participation grades only (not based on accuracy); Blackboard compatible.

Responses are anonymous (in free version).

Class Size

Unlimited!

Unlimited!

Maximum 30 responders.

Cost

Free for faculty. Students purchase a clicker (approximately $40) or a temporary internet subscription, ranging from $12/4mo. to $40/4yr.

Free for UK faculty and students.

Free version available. Upgrades available for a monthly fee.

Instructional Support

Available from UKIT.

Available from UKIT.

Not available at UK.

The Verdict

TurningPoint: This software integrates seamlessly with Blackboard and is ideal for the instructor who wishes to ensure attendance, assess student knowledge and attentiveness, and check frequently for comprehension. You can ask ungraded questions to keep track of when to review or move on to the next topic; you can also ask graded questions to encourage students to actively participate (and show up to every class!)or as a quick and easy reading quiz before the start of class. It's the perfect supplement to traditional classroom instruction!

LectureTools: This software is very accessible to students with internet-enabled devices and is ideal both for instructors teaching online courses and those seeking to increase classroom interaction and student-driven learning. The wide variety of activities offered by LectureTools can increase your students' engagement with the material; the ability to browse slides at will (and add notes to them) can aid in lecture comprehension and improve studying strategies. Remember, activity grades are participation only, so you'll have to rely on Blackboard for electronic quizzes.

Poll Everywhere (free version): This software is quick and easy. Ideally, it would work well for an instructor who wants anonymous feedback from a small class (less than 30 students). If this is not the case for you, we recommend using one of the other two services, which are free to members of the UK community.

Have Questions?

For more information about these services, visit their websites: TurningPoint, LectureTools, or Poll Everywhere.

For information about how these services are used at UK, visit our support pages for TurningPoint and LectureTools (Poll Everywhere is not supported at UK).

For technical support, contact the UKIT Service Desk at 218-HELP (4357), or email helpdesk@uky.edu.

For information about how to use these tools effectively in your classroom, please contact the Center for the Enhancement of Learning and Teaching (CELT).

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