How I Use It
Gathering student information, providing a common space for discussion, and conducting formative assessments are all possibilities with Poll Everywhere. For high school science, this tool is simple to use, effective, and quick. It allows students to practice content knowledge recall and summarization of concepts. Like other student response system apps, Poll Everywhere can get students to vote on a question or brainstorm easily. My class has used it for building consensus using the upvoting/downvoting feature of the short answer responses to open-ended questions, to spark discussion from contrasting view points obtained through poll results, or to activate prior knowledge when beginning a lesson. The interface is rather simple and clean, especially from mobile web, and students like that they don't need a smartphone to participate with Poll Everywhere. It works great for capturing students' ideas quickly and displaying them back to students in a visually appealing way. Poll Everywhere generates infographics almost automatically, and that image-rich aspect makes it popular with students. Using the word cloud functionality on the free text questions has been a favorite use for my class. We do an activity where students have to read a text critically and answer questions that almost surely give rise to opposing viewpoints on the topic, such as genetic testing or other controversial science issues. Students will read a short context-rich article on one of these science topics with their small groups. Students can read the article individually or one person in each group can read it to their group as other members follow along. After reading the story, the small groups are then tasked with the challenge of determining their position on the topic and provide supporting evidence from the text. All of the groups then share out their ideas using Poll Everywhere to the class and, through the word cloud functionality, we can visualize the generalized opinions of all the groups. This promotes whole-class and student-to-student discussion, ultimately facilitating a claim-evidence-reasoning sequence that results in the class arriving at consensus on the issue.
You've likely used an audience response system, or “clickers,” in your classroom before. Managing that class set of devices, sharing the devices with other classrooms, and building lessons with the device software can be a headache. Luckily, web-based applications have replaced the need for class sets of “clickers.” Now, students can use any mobile device or computer to access a dynamic student response system environment. Teachers can easily create activities and assessments to use with student response apps, like Poll Everywhere. Poll Everywhere has come a long way. From being mainly a SMS text-based polling tool to being a robust tool for visualizing responses from students and the entire audience, Poll Everywhere is a solid web app. As it has developed over time, it also continues to evolve. The nice thing about Poll Everywhere's continual improvement is that they make new features available to try out using Labs before they go live on the system. While the tool has some great features, such as the ability to quickly generate a word cloud of open-ended question responses, the tool really only has viable use in on-the-spot polling. Though that isn't a bad thing, it limits the use of the tool to formative assessment and not summative assessment, such as quizzes. Additionally, the types of questions that teachers can ask are on the lower end of depth-of-knowledge; however, with the proper application, the tool can allow the teacher to quickly take students from a simple recall question to a synthesis or evaluation experience. Poll Everywhere might be the most accessible of the student response system apps, as it allows for a web-based interface and SMS text responding to polls. That means that practically every mobile device out there should be able to interact with this app. A great choice for the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) classroom. Finally, an appealing feature is Poll Everywhere's integration with PowerPoint for displaying polls and results in sequence with your other presentation slides. This gives the teacher or presenter a streamlined way of teaching and assessing all at once.