Earlier in the semester, Tips #4: Killing Bullet Points made some suggestions for how to include student interaction within a class session, including quick polls or quizzes. Quizzes can be used before presenting a concept to gauge what attitudes or perceptions a student may have ahead of time. They can also be used after presenting a concept to see if students grasped what you were trying to teach.
Some products that include options for building a quiz in PowerPoint are:
Clickers – Quizzes tied into a clicker system can be built into a PowerPoint presentation. If you build a quiz with this plugin, then students who have a clicker can enter responses. This allows everyone to participate, even in very large classes.
Note: You must be teaching in a clicker-enabled room and students must purchase clickers.
Adobe Presenter (Windows only) – This plugin prepares PowerPoint files to be displayed in Adobe Connect and includes a quiz function. Students logged into Adobe Connect can answer the questions. Optimal for online presentations.
Note: Cost is approximately $80 for instructors. Files are played within Adobe Connect.
A Low-Tech Alternate
Even if the products above present too large a logistical hurdle, there are low tech methods you can use to achieve the same effect. Just prepare a slide with your question and then ask for a show of hands. If you have a multiple choice question, then you can ask students to raise numbers of fingers for choice 1,2,3 and so forth. Even this technique can provide you with helpful information on student perception.