During the Fall 2016 semester, CNDLS conducted a pilot of Poll Everywhere, an online polling service that allows users to respond to polls using a computer or mobile device in or outside the the classroom.
Georgetown University instructors Diana Glick (Chemistry), Patrick Johnson (Physics), and Betsy Sigman (MSB) participated in the pilot.
The pilot faculty used Poll Everywhere in a variety of ways with students, including reviewing content using multiple choice questions, applying concepts to solve a problem, marking a location on an map, generating free responses using a word cloud, and as an icebreaker activity. All polling was conducted anonymously and not used for graded activities.
Glick found Poll Everywhere very useful to ask her general chemistry students about course material related to the previous class. “I would be able to start Friday’s lecture with, ‘What did you get out of Wednesday’s class?’” She also encouraged her students to discuss questions for which there was not a clear consensus on the right answer. When she asked them to talk to each other about it, “the room would erupt in conversation.”
Johnson, who teaches “Principles of Physics,” presented his students with Poll Everywhere multiple choice questions nearly every class to expose his students to as much problem solving as possible during his physics lectures. He found the service to foster greater student engagement. “In a classroom where you just say a question, you wait for a response, you don’t really get a response for the most part. And when you do, it usually comes from the same people, and I want to know what everybody’s thinking. And so compared to just open-ended questions, [with] no way to answer anonymously, [Poll Everywhere] is a huge improvement.”
Sigman used Poll Everywhere for an icebreaker activity for her Developing/Managing Databases course. “There was a sort of wow factor when we did a question about ‘Where are you from?’ and the students were able to pull out their Poll Everywhere app and point to where they were from in the world. We did have some students from abroad, and it was a lot of fun to see that happen on the screen in front.”
At the end of the Fall 2016 semester students were surveyed in all three classes with 164 students responding out of a total of 379 (43% response rate). Students feedback was positive.
Findings from the survey included:
- 76% of students agreed that “using Poll Everywhere provided me immediate feedback on my understanding of concepts.”
- 69% of students agreed that “using Poll Everywhere caused me to pay attention in class.”
- 77% of students indicated it was “very easy” to set up Poll Everywhere.
- 92% of students would recommend their professor continue to use the service in class.
- 84% would like to see Poll Everywhere used in their other classes.
What did students say they liked about Poll Everywhere? They noted ease of use, responsive service, and that it came at no cost (for pilot participants).
All three pilot faculty are continuing their use of Poll Everywhere in their courses the Spring 2017 semester. CNDLS is working with University Information Services to explore Poll Everywhere integration with Canvas and Blackboard learning management systems and support other faculty interested in bringing mobile polling to their classrooms.
If you’d like to learn more about Poll Everywhere, visit the company’s website where you can sign up for a free educational count for up to 40 responders per poll. To schedule a consultation to discuss incorporating mobile polling in your classes, please contact CNDLS.