I’m sure this is a common experience. I’m in the middle of a brilliant lesson with my students and we’re discussing something really important. I look back and I see a student who isn’t that engaged with what the rest of the class is discussing. In fact, the student seems to be more interested in a small electronic device that he (or she) is trying to hide. That’s when I realize that it’s happened again. I’ve lost another student to The Texting Zone.
As tools, cell phones are amazing devices. When you think about it, the basic cell phone that most of our students carry to class is more powerful than the computers that were available twenty years ago. What if the cell phone’s power and ubiquity could be used educationally? What if educators could turn the tables on texting and use the process to assess and engage students? This week’s Tech Tip is Poll Everywhere, a site that allows people to create free online polls where participants can text their responses. Imagine you’re teaching a class and you want to survey the students on their ideas on a particular subject. Poll Everywhere allows you to create a survey, display it to the class and have students text their responses. The polls can include multiple choice or open-ended questions. Besides text responses, Poll Everywhere also allows other forms of participation (web-based polls, Twitter, etc) that the poll administrator can control. The responses can even be displayed in a Powerpoint slide that updates poll data in real-time as people participate. Poll Everywhere offers the interactivity of Personal Response Systems (clickers) but uses a device that the majority of our students already own. Please advised, however, that although Poll Everywhere is free to use, standard text messaging fees would apply.
For more information, be sure to check out the short tutorial below: