Keypad technology

keypad response systems, audience response keypads, audience response systems, ARS

Keypads are used in group meetings to gauge audience response to presentations and provide valuable feedback in large group settings. 

Keypads are given to participants who can be asked multiple choice questions during the presentation. The keypad allows participants to easily respond to the questions while continuing to view and remain engaged in the presentation.  Data is sent to a computer and can be stored either anonymously or traced to individual users.

"These keypad response systems have a number of applications. They can be used for voting or polling, to assess or test knowledge (for example, in a classroom setting, or to determine how well the audience has understood key points of a presentation), and to quickly gather data (such as demographic information or to confirm who is in attendance). The systems are used in a variety of settings and have been utilized in classrooms; at conferences, events, and corporate trainings; for market research; and for decision-making and support." (Gasdaska , 2010)


In the following example, keypads were used to create a dialogue to help overcome misconceptions during a community conflict.

“The staff of an urban library system convened some focus group dialogues that were part of an assessment of the library’s challenges. Within the library’s culture, there had already been some evidence of a disagreement between those who thought that the library was making too many adjustments to cater to its changing demographics of people with lower reading levels versus those who thought the library should return to its original mission of serving accomplished readers. Among the initial questions, a question asked participants to assess the library’s importance as a community educational institution. There was some variation in the answers provided, but not surprisingly, the answers were heavily skewed toward the answers “very important” and “important”. This finding was used by the facilitator later to remind the participants there was a consensus the library was important, and the conflict was about how it should accomplish the mission of community education, not whether it should.

This dynamic is not unusual. In our experience, community or organizational conflicts often can be broadly described as between “complainers” whose focus is on advocating changes in direction, and “boosters”, who favor tweaks but oppose major changes. In a continuing conflict, these camps often begin to view one another as enemies and can ascribe nefarious motivations (such as self-interest) to the other side. In such cases, …[the] task of facilitators is to infuse the dialogic container with the awareness that both sides of the conflict share a concern for the setting.” (Campt & Freeman, 2009)


Campt, D., & Freeman, M. (2009). Talk through the hand: Using audience response keypads to augment the facilitation of small group dialogue. The International Journal of Public Participation, 3(1), 80-107. Retrieved from

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