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This is a brief introduction to the technique of using EVS (electronic voting systems) for interaction in lectures. (A complementary technique is the one minute paper which uses open-ended audience input. An introduction to interactive lectures and why attempt them is here.)
The technique is much as in the "Ask the audience" lifeline in the TV show "Who wants to be a millionaire?". A multiple choice question (MCQ) is displayed with up to 10 alternative response options, the handsets (using infrared like domestic TV remote controls) distributed to each audience member as they arrive allow everyone to contribute their opinion anonymously, and after the specified time (e.g. 60 seconds) elapses the aggregated results are displayed as a barchart. Thus everybody sees the consensus or spread of opinion, knows how their own relates to that, and contributes while remaining anonymous. It is thus like a show of hands, but with privacy for individuals, more accurate and automatic counting, and more convenient for multiple-choice rather than yes/no questions.
It can be used for any purpose that MCQs can serve, including:
At Glasgow University we currently use the PRS equipment: small handheld transmitters for each audience member, some receivers connected to a laptop up front, itself connected to a data projector and running the PRS software. This equipment is portable, and there is enough for our largest lecture theatres (300 seats). Given advance organisation, setting up and packing up can be quick. We can accommodate those who normally use OHPs, powerpoint, ad hoc oral questions, or a mixture.
More practical details are offered here, and more details of how to design and use the questions are available through the main page, e.g. here.
Fig.1 Infrared handset transmitter
Fig.2 A receiver
Fig.3 The projected feedback during collection, showing handset ID numbers
Fig.4 Display of aggregated responses
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