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They came across PowerVote after an Internet search, when they were looking for ways to liven up an event. The Weekend, a residential activity event to encourage girls to try out new activities and improve skills, was attended by nearly 200 young girls aged 11-18 from across the UK.
Clubs for Young People chose to hire the group response system to engage the girls and stimulate their interest. The girls were kept busy with physical activities during the day, but used the voting systems as a way of bringing them all together in the evening.
This was the first time that Clubs for Young People used an interactive response system. In the past they organised team activities and group work, which usually meant breaking large groups up into smaller groups. Using PowerVote allowed them to run a lively interactive event while staying together as a group.
Julia Hargreaves, Head of Policy & Communications at Clubs for Young People said: “PowerVote was particularly useful in capturing the young girls’ attention because of its interactive nature, and the use of technology made a connection with this age group. It enabled us to do something as a large group and still involve the young people.”
Clubs for Young People used the voting system for three different purposes:
PowerVote meant Clubs for Young People had a captive audience during the sessions. The technology created quite a buzz among the young girls, who liked being able to instantly see the views of their peers. The results of the voting have already been used to inform the organisation’s work objectives for the coming year.
Reflecting on the week-end, Julia Hargreaves said: “We would definitely use PowerVote again. For young people, it was a very interactive and useful way of getting their views and maintaining their interest. From an organisational perspective it was an efficient way of collating the views of a large number of young people.”
Clubs for Young People consists of a network of organisations across the UK, which provide locally tailored support to youth clubs and projects. The network includes over 3000 youth clubs, youth groups and projects across the UK, which helps close to half a million people a year. To find out more, please visit Clubs for Young People website
In 2004, The National Veterinary School (NVS), as part of its policy to modernise its teaching methods via the use of ICTE (Information and Communication Technologies for Education), turned to electronic voting to lend interactivity to its lecture courses.
As for any ICTE tool, the instructor has several teaching scenarii to choose from. In addition to the more traditional scenario of asking questions during the course, so as to enliven instruction and make it more dynamic, the most effective teaching scenario is the following:
- Ask a few questions at the beginning of the session, in order to confirm the previous week’s instruction.
- Once again, ask a few questions at the end of the session, in order to determine the group’s level of understanding regarding what has just been discussed.
Based on the results, the instructors can reorganise their course and adapt it to their students, thereby ensuring a maximum level of understanding. At the National Veterinary School, the voting keypads are used to determine the students’ level of understanding and produce a “comprehension assessment” that is greatly appreciated by the students themselves and which helps them determine where they stand with regard to their training.
Question preparation is time-consuming…
NVS has obtained the support of the Region for financing the purchase of 50 PowerVote voting keypads.
It has even convinced the next-door Engineering School to co-invest in the project, potentially increasing the number of voting keypads to one hundred.
Thinking up and preparing the questions requires a significant amount of time on the part of the instructors; this would seem to limit the use of this solution. “Question preparation is too complicated. This task remains a hurdle for instructors, and so it is our ICTE centre that prepares the layout of the PowerVote questionnaires. Today, at NVS, only 10% of teachers make use of these voting keypads,” explains a research engineer responsible for the school’s ICTE.
… But the method pays off
“We spend time preparing the questions, but the results speak for themselves. The instructors have noticed that the students are more involved when the voting handsets are used during class,” she explains. Interactive and fun instruction seems to have won over these veterinary students.
A new software programme is currently being studied to simplify question preparation. This would allow the National Veterinary School to increase the number of instructors who make use of the electronic PowerVote keypads.
Experience of a Medical Faculty
The monthly presentation of multidisciplinary clinical cases has offered the faculty, for the past few years already, a new, interactive method for continuing medical training, allowing it to gather together and improve communication between doctors from diverse backgrounds, which today’s hyper-specialisation tends to isolate.
In this manner, general practitioners and specialists in and outside the hospital are brought together.
During 2 hours, 6 varied clinical cases are presented via video and thanks to information technology with the use of voting keypads each device recording the vote of 3 or 4 doctors gathered together on some fifteen small, friendly tables.
The faculty plans on organising video conferences and making these training sessions available online to gather together geographically remote practitioners.
The Civic Education day – in partnership with PowerVote
During this day, young people are given tests developed by the Ministry of Education which are meant, among other things, to identify young people with reading difficulties. In order to modernise the procedure and speed up the processing of the results, the Ministry of Education joined forces with PowerVote to set up a system of interactive voting keypads to carry out this testing. In particular, these interactive devices allow for reliable, rapid correction, as well as the economising of paper for each test.
One of the tests given to the young participants allows for the identification of reading and writing difficulties. Each test-taker has their own PowerVote voting keypad to answer questions displayed on a video-projector screen. The results are instantaneously corrected, thereby facilitating the organisation of this nationwide test. The test results provide quantitative data on 17- to 18-year-olds. Discovering the scale of this phenomenon allows the Agency for the Fight Against Illiteracy to carry out a more effective policy.
A reliable, instantaneous study of the target population
Analysis of the Civic Education day test results gives an idea of the geographical distribution of 17- and 18-year-olds in difficulty (4.9%). National Service Department staff members meet individually with these young people in order to present to them all means liable to aid their insertion, via local initiatives and programmes.
The use of these electronic voting keypads facilitates the detection of these reading and writing difficulties by rendering the identification process faster and more effective.
Thanks to interactive voting keypads, the Ministry of Education has been successful in identifying young people in difficulty. Each year, tests carried out during the Civic education day allow for an effective, rapid identification of 17- and 18-year-olds with scholastic difficulties.
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