Review by Marianne Rogowski, Common Sense Education | Updated September 2019

Slido

Increase student buy-in with interactive polls and Q&A sessions

Subjects & skills
Subjects
N/A

Skills
  • Critical Thinking
Grades This grade range is based on learning appropriateness and doesn't take into account privacy. It's determined by Common Sense Education, not the product's publisher.
3–12
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Pros: The clean design and variety of polling options make it a great tool for student engagement and classroom discussion.

Cons: Most of the classroom-centric features are available only with a paid plan, and polls must be reset one at a time.

Bottom Line: Engaging classroom response platform offers teachers and students real-time feedback opportunities.

Teachers and students can ask just about anything on Slido. Poll students about keeping safe online, quiz students on yesterday's algebra lesson, or crowd-source questions about civil rights leaders. Let students submit one-word reactions to an article or short story, and watch the word cloud appear. Or play a form of "Would You Rather?" as a conversation starter. For instance, you could ask, "Would you rather be stuck in a desert or a blizzard?" to open up a dialogue about climate. End a lesson with an exit ticket to get the pulse of the class on the day's topics.

It's important to set ground rules. Students, especially younger ones, may feel compelled to call out opinions or answers before everyone has participated. Setting a timer for responses might help cut down on lag time in between questions so that students don't have to wait as long to discuss. And be prepared for some lively conversations. If you allow anonymous participation, you might get some inappropriate or irrelevant comments, and while it's great that students can respond to one another's questions and comments, it might be tough to monitor. Be sure to remind your audience about acceptable online communication behaviors, and keep an eye on students' devices as they respond.

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Slido is a web-based interactive polling and Q&A platform. Students access teacher-created polls via a simple join code, and teachers activate polls one at a time for student response. Polling options include multiple choice, word cloud, rating scales, and short answer, and teachers choose the length of time sessions will remain active. There's also a Q&A feature where kids can submit questions by name or anonymously and reply to others or up-vote questions they'd like answered. This gives teachers real-time feedback to assess student understanding and provides opportunities for teachable moments. Teachers can edit user-submitted questions, which is useful for kids who struggle with spelling, syntax, punctuation, or grammar. Presenters may also choose to hide results as they come in, which gives students a chance to think about their responses without being influenced by their classmates. For added convenience and interactivity to in-class presentations, consider installing the Slido add-on for Google Slides. This lets presenters create and launch polls directly from their Slides presentations, which may provide timely boosts to student engagement. 

The large library of videos on the developer's YouTube channel makes it easy to learn different features to engage students. Topics include customizing the interface to reflect school colors and conducting polls directly from Google Slides presentations. If teachers want fresh responses for each class they teach, they'll have to reset each poll individually, which is a bit tedious. One workaround is to duplicate polls and run separate sessions by class. It's easy enough to do and saves time, as long as each class receives the correct join code.

Audience response tools like Slido tend to be fun and engaging, but teachers will want to be thoughtful in their planning. If teachers provide students opportunities to submit questions or ideas before they teach a concept, kids will activate their thinking while teachers get a handle on areas of interest or confusion -- informing instruction without calling out anyone specific. Teachers can also do this in real time, but they'll have to be quick about moderating students' questions so they don't interrupt the lesson flow. Giving students, especially quiet ones, a voice by asking thought-provoking open-ended questions can give teachers a sense of how the students think in a way that promotes critical thinking and suits their comfort level. 

Depending on the questions posed or the ones students ask, there are real opportunities for impactful dialogue and deep learning. And assessing individual and group understanding is a snap when kids have a chance to both answer and ask questions, especially when teachers encourage them to reply to one another. Slido isn't limited to students: The real-time Q&A or feedback can help guide professional development (PD) workshops as well.

Overall Rating

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

Students will love the interactive nature of Slido; keeping lag time between polls to a minimum will help the class stay focused.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?

With careful planning and good questioning techniques, teachers can spark lively discussions that encourage deep thinking and provide opportunities for reflection.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?

The tool is easy to learn and use. Students who are struggling with a concept can ask questions anonymously, and teachers can get a pulse for how well kids are grasping content.
 


Common Sense Reviewer
Marianne Rogowski Media specialist/librarian

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