When I was in high school, I played on the ‘Whiz Quiz” Team. If you don’t know what that is – imagine a group of nerds sitting around and buzzing in to answer trivia questions. I actually got a varsity letter for that. I was awesome at it.
However, as a floating teacher, I’m not one who can keep equipment in a classroom for repeated use. Today, my good friend Dan sent me a link to a cool service called Poll Everywhere. With a pricing tier from free (for thirty users and one administrator) to thousands of dollars (for fancy features and unlimited users and pollers), it’s a great option – and with the free account, a great tool that I can play with and hope to upgrade a little later. It’s built using a basic website tool to create polls and allows participants to use their cell phones to text their votes (or even use twitter if it’s enabled). It draws on a concept that we see a lot of schools employing: namely BYOD (Bring Your Own Device). It also adheres to the idea that if we give students an objective, a purpose for using their devices in our classrooms then it will keep them more on task and less Facebook check-y.
So, I signed up for the free service. I like asking poll-like questions in class and have long relied on the archaic ‘hand-raising’ method. However, your shyer students are less inclined to raise their hands or otherwise publicly display an answer – especially those that really feel the need to be ‘right.’ This helps to eliminate that element, allowing more ‘anonymous’ (at least to the outside viewer, as a moderator you can see who posts what and at certain paid tiers even moderate responses). Here is the poll that I made:
Right now, I think that I’m going to employ this in one of my smaller, more mature classes (likely an AP) and see how it works.