Years ago, one of our faculty members approached me about improving our local technician education program. We were already doing a simple quiz-show format of questions & answers with the questions being read out loud from hand-written cards. But he wanted to "jazz things up a little”. He told me he had researched and found an online source for Jeopardy style lockout buzzers/lights that would allow contestants to buzz in when they knew the correct answer. He wanted to pick contestants from the audience and turn it into a competition. Now all we needed was a way to project the questions and he asked if we could make it more interactive like Jeopardy, with onscreen columns of different question-and-answer categories.
I gave it some thought and told him was possible but entirely too much work to warrant the effort. But he knew me too well! I gave it a little more thought and started tinkering with PowerPoint and hyperlinks to build a screen that we could move back and forth between categories. I had attended an OPS course entitled "Whiz-Bang PowerPoint Presentations” where Bill Anderson shared a way to hyperlink menus to organize an educational program with easy navigation between multiple speaker presentations. I figured I could build a Jeopardy template using similar hyperlinks between slides.
Suddenly the project grew and seemed to take on a life of its own. Each presentation contains over 250 hyperlinks, tons of photos, videos, and sound files and we can chose from a bank of hundreds of questions!
We would pick contestants who would use the buzzers to buzz in when they knew the answers, we kept score, and gave prizes to the winners. Different faculty members acted as the host and relished playing the part of Alex Trebek. I was the "puppet master” behind the scenes, driving the program and selecting the appropriate hyperlinks to navigate through the questions.
Something was still missing however. It was a spectacle, but the majority of the audience was reduced tobystanders when we could only chose five contestants from the group. So we eventually opened it up to the entire audience rather than a handful of contestants. At times it can become a little chaotic this way, but everyone seems engaged and involved.
Although we've used it at Penn State for audiences ranging from physicians, technicians and the general public, the version used at OPS meetings has a higher level of of both difficultyand "cheesiness". Imagers seem to not only recognize rare and unusual eye findings, but also have a warped sense of humor and "get” the tongue-in-cheek nature of the categories and questions. It works best with larger audiences so it's become a staple at the OPS Mid-Year Educational Programs where the entire group is together.
The last few years, I've come out from "behind the curtain" and started hosting Ophthalmic Jeopardy myself. When I retire from ophthalmic photography, maybe I can be a substitute for Alex Trebek! So if you haven't been to an OPS mid-year in recent years, you should check it out. It's entertaining for sure, but at its core it's also educational – in short it's "Edutainment”!