Use Instant Voting in the classroom

What is ‘instant voting’?

Instant voting systems come into their own in large classrooms where class-wide discussions or Q&A style sessions are often impossible. Used creatively, they can be used to promote and enable creative and engaging teaching. In small classroom contexts, they can effectively be used to gamify lessons, or survey opinions on the fly.

  • Quick polls break up the monotony of one-way lectures (and gives teachers a break from speaking)

  • Anonymity can put students at ease – the fear of being seen not to know or have understood something is eliminated, students are safe to express opinions, political and social preferences under discussion without admitting to it personally

  • Diagnostic use allows teachers to gauge cohorts initial level of knowledge and progressive understanding

  • It allows teachers to use the so-called “Socratic" teaching method, progressing students’ understanding through questioning their preconceptions, reacting flexibly to their answers and thus progressing to a fuller understanding as a whole

  • Instant voting systems can be used creatively, eg get students to react and interact with each other, to contribute to active learning and increased classroom engagement

  • Teachers can collect post-session feedback to review their content, identify problem areas and track student progression

“Instant Voting” has a multinomial history, including different abbreviations:

  • CRS (Classroom Response System) PRS (Personal Response System); EVS (Electronic Voting System); interactive polls online; instant polling and ‘clickers’.

  • At the LSE, we introduced a system by turningtechnologies in 2009, called TurningPoint, which ‘helpfully’ changed its name 3 years later to ResponseWare, then back to TurningPoint and now to ttpoll. It still works in the same way. The company is now called turning (or is it?).

How does it work?

Teachers create interactive polling question slides in PowerPoint using the TurningPoint plugin.  Students answer using their own devices that allow them to go online (smartphone, tablets, laptops). The results are automatically entered into the same slide after students have answered. Teachers and students can then review and discuss the results.

Step 1: Setting up Basics

To get an instructor account, please contact with your LSE email. We will send you an invitation (check your junk mail, just in case, because it comes from turningtechnologies).

Once you have followed the email instructions to create your account, let know how many participants you expect so we can allocate you that number. If you do not get an allocation you will not be able to ask your students to join anonymously.


On your work computer:
TurningPoint works as a plugin for PowerPoint. To get the plugin installed on your office computer (PC), search for the LSE Self Service software download centre and download TurningPoint from there.

On your own computer:
To download the software onto your private computer (home, or laptop), sign in to the instructor account ( At the top there is a download icon, from which you can download the software.

The system is installed on teaching computers on campus. If you encounter any problems with the installation of the software, please contact the IT helpdesk (ext. 5000)


Step 2: Creating questions

Open the downloaded app.

The dashboard will give you the option to poll, to create content in Powerpoint or directly in TurningPoint.

Use TurningPoint with PowerPoint.

Sign In with your LSE email and your TurningPoint passport
Choose PowerPoint Polling


Click on the PowerPoint Polling column, which will automatically open PowerPoint with TurningPoint integrated as a menu (= plugin). You can then create interactive slides from this menu.

While on your own computer(s) you can choose the option to always open TurningPoint when you open PowerPoint, it is important for you to remember to open TurningPoint BEFORE PowerPoint on teaching computers, or it will not be there when you open your slides!

Create your interactive question slides by clicking on New and choosing a question type (e.g. multiple choice). Then simply put the question into the title and add answers into the text box.

Save your presentation.

Step by step guides and video tutorials are also available on


Once you have finished creating your slides click on the refresh button, to make them appear properly.

Step 3: Running your presentation


Open TurningPoint. Login with your instructor account details (LSE email and whichever password you chose when you created it). Once open, choose PowerPoint Polling. Go to File and find your PowerPoint.

While on your own computer(s) you can choose the option to always open TurningPoint when you open PowerPoint, it is important for you to remember to open TurningPoint BEFORE PowerPoint on teaching computers, or it will not be there when you open your slides!

Before live polling

Refresh the slides

Reset all slides.


When all the charts are “flat”, i.e. no bars are showing you are ready to go live.

Enable mobile responses:

(Click on Mobile responses - if it is green, your session is live).

Session ID

Students need a session ID (like a room number) to join your polls. This can be reserved beforehand (we recommend using your course code, eg DV123, but you can also choose something more personal like KittenPollsLSE, which you can use for any session).

Click on reserve, enter a name, save. It will appear in the session ID dropdown. If you don’t do this, TP will choose a random number for every session you start.


Session options menu button



Session options for students joining

We recommend you do NOT require participants accounts, to maintain anonymity, although you can (the software is GDPR compliant). If you do, please tell your students.

Untick require participant accounts. Ideally don’t require names, though this is up to you. Messaging is a useful thing, as it acts like a chat during the session.

Note: If you want to assure students that their data is not collected, choose “don’t show” for session login information, meaning they won’t even be offered to enter a name - voters will be allocated random IDs per session which tracks answers in that one session, which you can read for feedback. All of this can be set from the ‘Session options’ button which can be found after clicking polling. TurningPoint will remember these settings once you save them, so you only have to do it once.


Go Live

Click on start session. Make sure you tell your students the Session ID so that they can join your poll.

You can then close this pop up screen (not “end session”). Your session remains “live” until you logout again or log off the computer. Participants can join by typing or into a browser on any sort of device using a browser. Poll questions will show on their device as they appear in the presentation.

Start your PowerPoint presentation (the screen icon or F5). When you come to a question slide, the showbar will be on the screen. In zoom, this will not be shown to participants. It is where YOU control the slides. When the poll is open, the right hand side will be green. When you close the poll, so that no more answers can be submitted, it will be red.


How do students participate?

Students can use any web browser (= smartphone, tablet, laptop) to participate by going to which should take them to where they can enter the Session ID to join your poll.


Note: Remember to untick “ask students to register”, or their joining will take up more time.

Be patient: you should allow for students to get their phones out, joining, thinking about your question. You can see the ‘votes trickling in’ on your monitor (showbar)

Students may be asked or shown a screen to enter profile information, but they can leave it blank and choose JOIN SESSION without entering anything. This can be prevented from appearing by the presenter in settings (see above).

Make sure you run through your TurninPoint presentation ahead of your teaching so you are familar with the process. If you have any queries contact

Some reading

Derek Bruff’s blog. This blog accompanies a book called “teaching with classroom response systems”, a comprehensive guide about using instant voting systems in education.

Bruff, D. (2009). Teaching with classroom response systems: Creating active learning environments. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Mazur, E. (1997). Peer Instruction: A User’s Manual, Prentice Hall. ISBN 0-13-565441-6 has lots of useful resources on his website