Instructors always want to know what their students are thinking. They traditionally accomplish this on a daily basis through posing questions to the class or individual students to gauge their understanding. They also ask students to demonstrate their knowledge through quizzes and tests.
While the results of these oral or written assessments guide instructors in adjusting the lessons to suit their students’ needs, unfortunately, this important information often comes too late to create a noticeable impact in the course. Distributing a poll is a solution to this problem.
Polling students is similar to asking a question to a student body, except that the results are received very quickly and are often more accurate than a count of a raise of hands.
Aided by technology, the use of polling in a course can benefit an instructor in many ways, including:
- Informing him which materials need to be reviewed
- Enhancing classroom engagement (especially if the course is asynchronous)
- Pinpointing which particular students are struggling
- Reaching students who are less apt to speak in class
Below are a number of popular polling services which might enhance your classroom:
Poll Everywhere – This polling product provides nearly instantaneous feedback to aid the teacher. An instructor can choose from multiple types of polls and questions to distribute to his class and students can respond via text message or online. The results are automatically analyzed and no response is left unaccounted.
Doodle – While many learners are comfortable learning from a distance, it is often valuable to meet up, whether online or in a person, a number of times during the semester. Doodle is a simple scheduling tool which allows an organizer to poll participants in order to determine which meeting time would work best.
Survey Monkey – This polling system is perfect for distributing surveys to any number of respondents. With an intuitive interface and helpful instructions, users can choose from many question types to create the perfect survey. Once responses are submitted, useful analytics break down the responses to inform the creator of what he needs to know.
Flisti – This straightforward, polling program is incredibly easy to use and gets straight to the point. Since no account is required to use Flisti, one can literally create a poll within seconds. Once the poll is created, the creator embeds it on a blog or website through which students can access and respond to it. Flisti is ideal for quick, class polls which do not need to be broken down by individual students.
Socrative – Tech savvy teachers will find much use for Socrative in their classrooms. This program is available on any computer or mobile device. Best utilized during class time, instructors and students both access Socrative through their personal accounts. Teachers can quiz students or ask simple questions and receive real-time results. The results are analyzed by individual students and instructors can easily identify classroom trends and specific student needs.
ClassPager – Messages from this polling system go straight to a student’s cell phone. Instructors can text reminders and polls to their students while ClassPager keeps phone numbers secure and confidential. Students respond by text and the instructor receives their responses. This smooth means of communication enables teachers to constantly measure their students’ progress.
How do you use polls in your classroom?