Among the several well-known benefits of ARS, the most important one is that it creates an interactive and fun learning environment. Presenters can gain and retain audience attention, help increase knowledge retention, and confirm audience understanding of material presented. This is done in several ways: polling anonymously, tracking individual responses, displaying polling results immediately and so forth. Some presenters gather data or even take attendance using ARS.
According to Wikipedia, audience response systems may present some difficulties in both their deployment and use.
- The per-unit purchase price of ARS devices
- The maintenance and repair of devices when owned by a central unit or organization
- The configuration, troubleshooting and support of the related presentation software
- The reliability and performance of the devices
- Must work in a webinar / online meeting environment where people are not in the same location. Increasingly, meetings and classes take place in this mode. Clickers are no good for webinars.
- Must avoid the need for purpose-built special hardware even when the audience is physically in same room (refer to my earlier post on Microsoft Mouse Mischief)
- Should provide the option of using generic reliable hardware such as computers, tablets or even smart phones as participation devices
- Should work with popular presentation software such as PowerPoint
- Must allow free text entry (apart from selecting from multiple choices)
- Must make it possible for the presentation software to share with everybody the result of participation instantly, thus fostering interaction