The popular polling and quizzing software Socrative launches 2.0 today! The entirely free service has seen a full interface redesign with some robust upgrades to its teacher interface with expanses to its quizzing, space race, and quick poll features. Check out this short video on Socrative’s features:
I love to use polls and polling software in my classroom to ensure that my students are understanding the content and material. There are a number of free (or tiered price) services out there to use!
Poll Everywhere – Poll Everywhere is one fo my favorite tools. I’ve written a few posts on it in the past (Poll Everywhere – a Free Alternative to Polling Hardware). What I love about Poll Everywhere is its flexibility. Students can text in an answer, go to a dedicated website, tweet, etc. It doesn’t require a smart phone or expensive hardware. I’m also a big fan of its moderated back channeling ability (a paid feature). The basic features of Poll Everywhere are free, with tiered pricing for K-12 and Higher Education.
Socrative – Socrative is another excellent quizzing and polling program created specifically for an educational environment. Socrative allows you to engage your students with polls, quizzes, games, etc. They even have a repository of questions. Socrative relies on the use of its iOS or web based apps to use. It is wholly and entirely free!
Polldaddy – Primarily integrated into WordPress, PollDaddy has begun to expand into mobile and live polling response methods. When you get your results, you can embed them, email them, and create enhanced display options. Poll Daddy will also allow you to export in a variety of methods.
ClassPager – Allows you to create polls, exit tickets, and provide personalized feedback in your classroom using SMS messaging. It will even allow you to export data and information to parents! There are multiple pricing plans and options.
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: