So, I’ve become more comfortable using Poll Everywhere and especially the new (paid for) moderator features. I’ve had a few mix-reviews with my students but have found that my younger kids (9th grade, 14-15 years old) are the ones that are most excited about it. In fact, one of them asked me to email her mother to explain that she does in fact need her cell phone at school. While I’m not naive enough to think that 100% of cell-phone use was to contribute to our back-channel discussion, I can say that the majority of then were – while walking around the room I saw no quick ‘switch overs’ (when they quickly switch screens thinking you won’t notice) and for the most part, phones sat face-down on the desk. You see, my class rule is that the phone sits face down on the desk and is only picked up to participate in the back-channel (when that is permitted).
I decided to use the back-channel for our in class reading/discussion of the Epic of Gilgamesh. I used the main computer in the room to project the channel and then my iPad as the moderator. The moderator features allow me to approve any comment before it is posted. For my freshmen classes, every single post was permitted. Here’s an example of our discussion (in fact, we ran out of our 40 posts very quickly).
I was really impressed with some of the keen insight and questions that the children prompted – and they were far more open and chatty then I often see them in class. Also, from the nature of the questions, you can see that they were on topic and paying attention to the reading.
Poll Everywhere also has a very neat feature for paid accounts and that is the ability to create word clouds. I currently don’t have a use for it, but it looks cool so I made one and I’ll post it here: