Army's interactive classroom enhances training for dangerous missions

The Army Defense Ammunition Center uses a wireless response system integrated with PowerPoint to make classroom instruction more interactive and effective.

If you’re teaching a subject such as explosives safety, you don’t want students to find out in the field what they didn’t learn in the classroom. You’d also prefer to know if students are missing something before they fail a final exam. So the Army Defense Ammunition Center, which teaches explosives safety training for the Defense Department, is using a system that helps keep track of what its students are learning while a course is in progress.

“We train people for all of the services,” said Pat Wheaton, a logistics management specialist and DAC instructor. Some of the courses conducted at DAC headquarters in McAlester, Okla., and 13 other locations across the country and overseas have as many as 5,000 students a year.

The center has been using a wireless student response system that makes classroom training more interactive. TurningPoint from Turning Technologies integrates into PowerPoint presentations used in the classroom to let the entire class answer questions.

“It replaces verbal questions you would ask anyway,” Wheaton said. “It allows the instructor to monitor his quality of instruction and the students’ retention of knowledge at the time of training.”

The instructor isn’t lulled by a student who sits upfront and answers every question correctly, while others sit in the back of the room and keep their mouths shut. Instructors can identify topics that students are struggling to understand and correct them before they become problems on an exam or in the field.

“Almost every question we have had a high miss rate on before — say, 30 percent — we have been able to reduce to 10 percent or less,” Wheaton said.

Introduced in 2002 and now in its fourth generation, TurningPoint consists of a set of handheld devices with keypads, a USB transceiver that operates at the edge of the Wi-Fi frequency range, and software that integrates with applications on a classroom PC.

“The most commonly used application is an add-in that exposes another ribbon in the PowerPoint slide,” said Turning CEO Mike Broderick. “It’s as simple as putting a device in the hands of every student. The instructor asks a question, and instead of one student raising his hand, everybody picks up a device and answers.”

There are two models of devices: a high-end model, such as a mobile Internet device that contains an LCD screen and a full keyboard, and a simpler model, which DAC uses, that is about the size of a handheld calculator with a numeric keypad. The larger model can provide simple answers to questions. The smaller unit is used primarily with multiple-choice or yes-or-no questions or questions with numerical answers.

The largest market for TurningPoint has been K-12 schools and higher education. But the government and corporate professional training centers are showing interest, and TurningPoint is on a General Services Administration schedule contract.

“We’re early in that market, but we’re seeing it growing lately,” Broderick said.

A DAC employee who was a former high school teacher brought TurningPoint to Wheaton’s attention about three years ago, he said.

“They were using it at the high school,” Wheaton said. “He said, ‘Have you thought about something like this?’ It sounded pretty cool.”

Wheaton found out later that his daughter’s high school was using TurningPoint.

He ordered a handful of devices for a trial and developed questions that could be integrated into the classroom instruction. “It was just a matter of inserting a blank PowerPoint slide and typing in the question.” The class response is displayed on the slide in a chart or graph.

The system was first used in two classes, for the Army and Air Force, on lightning protection. The two classes use the same textbook but different service-specific publications as reference material. “We noticed you could use the same question for either course and just change the wording depending on the reference” material, Wheaton said. The system helped instructors identify questions with high failure rates so they could provide additional instruction.

Much of the center’s training occurs in 10- to 12-month intern programs for two career courses: ammunition manager and quality assurance specialist for ammunition surveillance. “When we had done this for about six months, we knew we had to get this into the intern programs,” Wheaton said.

TurningPoint is being used in six of the intern courses and at six of the other 13 DAC training sites around the country and overseas.

Because of DOD security requirements for equipment and applications that access the department's networks, the TurningPoint system is used only on computers that do not connect to a network.

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.