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Turning Point equipment

This information from Mitt Nathwani, February 2005.

TurningPoint is simply a toolbar designed for Microsoft Office 2000 onwards, rather than a full application in iteself. It is accessed predominantly from within PowerPoint. TurningPoint is very feature rich but the most striking is that it takes just seconds to learn how to use. To create an interactive slide requires the user to click on 'Insert Slide' and choose one of the interactive templates. They get a blank PowerPoint slide which allows them to type in a question and a number of answer options. The chosen display (bar chart, pie chart, etc.) automatically reformats itself depending on how many options the lecturer provides the students. The slide is now ready and this entire process can take just 2 mouse clicks and 1-2 seconds. Everything else is just PowerPoint (equation editor, embedded videos, etc.)

With respect to hardware, TurningPoint is distributed in the UK at the moment with an infra-red keypad known as the ResponseCard. This is a credit-card sized pad with 10 option buttons on it. The buttons are sealed making them resistant to every day grease which normally limits the life of a handset. The ResponseCard receiver can process one response every 27ms which means it can deal with roughly 36 responses per second (in theory). Of course, in reality infrared can only be processed on response at a time which means that in real life it would take around half to two thirds of that number of responses in a second. In a lecture hall this means that 200 responses should take no longer than 10 seconds, and this can be improved by adding more receivers (each receiver can deal with up to 80 keypads). More importantly there is no limit (again, in theory) to the number of ResponseCards that can be used with TurningPoint - the practical limitations get in the way most of the time. However it has been used in real conferences with up to 1500 people voting at the same time. ResponseCard's battery life is extremely long too, having been tested to well over 250,000 keypresses on a single set of batteries.

ResponseCard isn't the only hardware choice though. Should the customer decided that they want to use H-ITT, CPS or some versions of the Reply hardware they can do so without any trouble since TurningPoint is designed to work with them also. Using an applet called vPad the university can also put this onto PDAs or PCs instead of using handsets. I guess in summary the extremely simple yet feature-rich software, robust and compact hardware, and hardware choice makes TurningPoint a pretty serious consideration in the UK. In terms of price simple kits of 32 handsets are 1699 to education but site licenses (hardware and software) for over 1000 users come down to 35 per handset.

Mitt Nathwani
Product Manager
Tel: 0208 213 2100
Mob: 0784 172 1436

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