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Beyond Student Response Systems – The Next Level Of Audience Participation

by Kelly Walsh on September 28, 2011


With all the attention that SRSs and ‘clickers’ get these days, I thought this advanced approach was interesting and worth sharing. Thanks to the folks at IML for this guest post. – KW

Whether you’re organizing a class, a conference, or even a television show, wider audience participation can greatly increase the depth, value and inclusivity of your event. You’re probably already aware of student response systems, or electronic voting systems, which enable students to electronically respond to questions you present, but modern audience participation systems can do so much more.

While electronic voting enables your audience to express themselves through the selection of simple yes or no or multiple choice responses, it is now possible to provide them with the means to easily communicate their thoughts in greater detail, and become truly involved.

Facilitating live discussion
IML’s Connector audience participation system features a range of features that expand on the concept of electronic voting and take it forward to a new level of interaction. Functioning as a handheld microphone and a mobile speaker, the Connector provides your audience with the means to make their voices heard, and makes it easier for them to hear everything that is going on.

The built-in handheld microphone can be enabled or disabled by the presenter. This means that during debating sessions the audience can get involved to an unprecedented extent, while the overall control of the event is still retained by the presenter or organizer.

Electronic voting on key issues can be further augmented by the addition of instantaneous messaging from participants. The IML Connector features an easy to use QWERTY keypad with which the audience can type out short messages relating to topics being voted on or discussed. These can then be displayed at the front of the auditorium for all to see, creating a valuable additional channel of dialogue.

Simultaneous translation
Finally, to ensure that everyone can understand the discussion or debate, the audience participation system can be used to receive simultaneous interpretation. The way this works is that the participant inserts their headphones into the Connector and selects their preferred language from the audio channels available. Meanwhile an interpreter working at the event provides the translation.

If you want your students and participants to do more than just listen to what’s said and cast votes at your event or meeting, it may be time to take audience participation to the next level.

Related Posts (if the above topic is of interest, you might want to check these out):
What technologies do YOU think can make the biggest difference in student learning?

Great Education Technology Story: CPS Student Response System helps to improve FCAT scores
10 Internet Technologies Educators Should Be Informed About – 2011 Update


Kelly Walsh is Chief Information Officer at The College of Westchester, in White Plains, NY, where he also teaches. In 2009, Walsh founded He frequently delivers presentations and training on a variety of related topics at schools and conferences across the U.S. His eBook, the Flipped Classroom Workshop-in-a-Book is available here. Walsh became the Community Administrator for the Flipped Learning Network in June of 2016. In his "spare time" he also writes, records, and performs original music ... stop by and have a listen!

[Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are my own, or those of other writers, and not those of my employer. - K. Walsh]

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