Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Instant Opinion Polls in the Classroom

For a long time now I have been looking for a tool that enables instant polling in the classroom or in the lecture room. I specifically wanted something that:
  •  doesn't require registration (especially from the people I'm polling)
  • updates very quickly
  • works on any platform from computers to mobile devices
It looks like I have finally found what I've been looking for and best of all it's free. The tool that I have found is Mentimeter and it does all of the above.

Creating the poll was really quick and easy I just went to http://mentimeter.com and typed in my question, then I clicked on 'Create Question',

I then entered my selection of answer choices, chose a theme and clicked on 'Save and Start Presenting'.

The poll is then ready to use. There are a number of ways of sharing it.

You can get a URL with a code to restrict entry or to make it quick and easy to share in presentations (Here's one on the flipped classroom. The URL is always http://vot.rs/ then you have a specific code for the poll, which in this case is 23512 ) anyone with this code can then vote. By all means give it a try.

You can click on share after you create your poll and get a direct web link which you can share through social media, such as Twitter or Facebook etc.

By clicking on 'Share' on your poll page you can also get an embed code or a link to to a public results page. I've embded the poll below to show you how it looks.

So what's so great about creating live polls?
  • Well they are great if you are lecturing or presenting at a conference with a wireless network as you can get instant feedback and responses that everyone can share in and so involve more people.
  • You can use them in class as a quick test to see if students have understood your material.
  • You can get students to create them and test each other.
  • You can use them for opinion polls in class, both before and after discussions to see if there is any shift in opinion.
  • The responses are anonymous, so it's a good tool to use to get honest feedback if you are doing action research in class, especially if it is related to a sensitive issue, such as your own teaching style or methods.
What's not to like?
  • Well there isn't much I can say that I don't like about this tool.
  • I'd like to have polls with more than one question though.
  • You have to be careful about using polls like this on mobile phones if your students are having to pay a connection charge, so it really helps to be able to get them on the wireless network if you are using it in class.
I hope you find http://mentimeter.com useful and enjoy using it with your students.

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Nik Peachey

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