Using i>clickers for Basic Polling
Posted by Dave Laurie on 17 April 2014 04:19 PM
The following article describes the basic process for using i>clickers while delivering your lecture at the U of A.
Before Class in Your Office
(If you are only using i>clickers for anonymous polling in a single session or as a trial, you can skip to the section 'Before Class in your SMART Room' below and download the software directly onto the classroom computer.)
- Download the Windows version of i>clicker software from the i>clicker website - the recommended version is 7.4.6 (older versions in the 6.x will still work but all of U of A's current training resources now reference version 7 since it provides the best performance and useability. For instructions on using older versions, consult the version specific user guides located in the clicker software folders) You should select the windows version because all SMART classroom computers are PCs so you need the Windows version to run on the classroom computer.
- Unzip the compressed file and save 'iclicker 7.4.6-Win' folder on your local machine, either on the Desktop or in a folder you have designated for the course, or directly on a USB drive.
- Run the software by double-clicking on i>clicker.exe.
- On the Welcome screen, click +Create, then add your course information (in any format you like - this does not need to match anything on eClass or Bear Tracks). Click Create to save.
- Now the Welcome screen course list will be populated with your course name/details. Single-click your course and select Settings.
- Leave the 'Course settings' interface on the General tab then enter your SMART room's sub-frequency code (this is required - this code will be posted at the front of the room or can be viewed on the IST IClicker Self Help page) and (optionally) enter your blue instructor remote ID, a welcome message for clicker 2 remotes (8 characters only), and click Save.
- Note: You will not be able to fully start the i>clicker polling software in your office unless you have your own base station. For practicing with the software, arrange a consultation with IST or find some time when your SMART classroom is empty and try it out there.
- Add screens of questions to your powerpoint slides. For suggestions on this, see the document 'Designing Effective Questions'.
- Copy your entire i>clicker folder onto a USB memory stick and bring it to class with you. Copy whatever lecture files (Powerpoint etc) you will be using onto your USB key as well.
Before Class in Your SMART Room
- Plug the USB drive into the classroom computer, open the USB drive folder, double click the i>clicker.exe icon to open the software. It should not be necessary to copy the software and your presentation files onto the classroom desktop, however if you notice any slowdown or connectivity problems with your USB key, copying the entire 'iClicker Win v7.4.6' folder from your USB drive onto the desktop may solve the issue. If you do copy the folder to the SMART room desktop, make sure you remember to copy it back to your USB drive after your lecture otherwise you will not have the ability to analyze student responses later.
- Note: If you have skipped the 'In office' steps above, you will need to complete steps 4, 5, and 6 from that section. Once these are complete, on the i>clicker Welcome screen, single-click on your course and select Start New Session to launch i>clicker.
- You are now ready to begin polling - the i>clicker toolbar will now float at the top left of your display, over any other windows you have open. You can re-position the bar by dragging and dropping it.
- Click the gear icon in the toolbar and Course settings and verify that the sub-frequency in your settings matches the posted sub-frequency in the room. If not, enter the codes and click Save. For basic polling these are the only settings required.
Polling During Class
Before the very first class, it is important to clearly explain to students why they will be using clickers (to improve engagement, increase interaction in lectures, draw attention to important topics, provide feedback on areas of poor comprehension, etc).
- Open your powerpoint lecture file (or whatever program/software you are using to deliver your lecture). Deliver your lecture until you reach a slide where you want to elicit student responses (ie. the slide where the question and the voting options are listed).
- Click the green start polling button on the i>clicker toolbar or click A on the instructor remote.
- Note: Multiple choice polling is the only recommended option for type of question
- Before answering the first poll question, students will need to set the sub-frequency code into their remotes. After the first couple of questions, uncheck the box beside 'Warn again on next question' so that polling can proceed more quickly.
- Watch the vote counter; after the first couple questions you'll see how many people are voting on each question. Once all the votes have been registered for a question, click the stop polling button. In the example below, I would stop polling when the voting total reaches 2 votes because there are that many people in my class.
- If you want to display a graph of the results for discussion, click the graph display icon. In class, this display is always anonymous.
- If you copied the 'iclicker Win' folder to the local desktop, make sure you copy it back onto your USB key. If you forget to copy the folder back to your key, you will not be able to review any of the polling results afterwards.
- To view the polling results on your office computer, insert the USB key, then double click the i>grader.exe application in your i>clicker software folder, and select your course. Then click Open gradebook.
- Click view on the column corresponding to the polling session you wish to look over. Sessions are identified by date.
- In the session summary screen, you can cycle through questions and view the breakdown of votes. The screenshot shows the question text onscreen at the time you started polling. You can also enter the correct answers if scoring results.
- For a more in depth and permanent view of the data, select 'Run/Update HTML Reports'.