Today was the first time that I used Poll Everywhere (or @PE on twitter) in the classroom. I wrote about Poll Everywhere earlier in an article: “Poll Everywhere – a free/cheap Alternative to Polling Hardware.”
In two of my classes it was a striking success! In one (the one about which I was mot worried) it was more… problematic. However, I was so happy with the results that I ended up purchasing a one year membership with moderating powers (that can help with my… “challenging” class). I also had two classes in which there were technical difficulties not having to do with the program – in one the projector was broken and the other, we were in a room with no cell phone reception (and no computers save the one for the teacher).
My first job was to teach the students how to use the material. So I created a simple multiple choice question and taught them how to respond on that.
Clearly, my students have no taste in film - but they did get the hang of the tools.
Next, I decided to use it as a “back channel” for running commentary while we read an article about “Why we study history.” The students respectfully comment throughout – and even answered each others’ questions (like what abbreviations they were using).
I also used it in my AP Art History Class to vote on whether or not an object was art. Here is how they responded to Duchamp’s ‘Fountain’
Overall, the experience was positive. The classes that tried it and succeeded did amazingly well! They were engaged, interested, and genuinely focused. Heck, my third period class didn’t even attempt to pack up before the bell rang (and a couple asked if they could stay “just a bit longer.”).
Now, with my new moderator tools, I do think that even the ‘challenging’ class will be a bit more meaningful.