Recently, my web-classmates compiled a list of available technology to use in the classroom. Each of the suggestions listed were aligned with one of six technology trends listed in the 2011 “Horizon Report”: electronic books, mobiles, augmented reality, game-based learning, gesture-based computing, and learning analytics. Among the list of technologies, one in particular captured my attention as a potential technology tool that would promote whole student involvement and assessment in real time. The technology I chose to plan a lesson around was “Poll Everyone”.
Of course, when planning a lesson it is more practical to plan within the current line of study of the students. I have an 8th grade class, with whom I am discussing details of a student novel version of “Macbeth” by William Shakespeare. Normally, when I pose a question to the group, there are a few factors that will not allow me to see who is and is not comprehending. Usually, there are a few students that are overly eager to answer the question, while several other students appear indifferent, or simply did not understand and won’t speak out. So I began to explore the use of Poll Everyone, a web based service, which would allow me to use mobile technology, which most of the students carry. This would allow multiple students to answer the questions and perhaps they would not feel intimidated in responding, for fear of being wrong in front of everyone.
Poll Everyone is a layered service, meaning that there are more features if you are willing and able to pay. Basically, the free service allows you to pose a question to the group and display it on the class screen. The students will be given sufficient time to search for the proper response. Once they have their answer ready, they have instructions on the screen for how to send their response via their mobile. The question can be multiple choice or open ended. As students respond to the question, the responses begin to appear on the screen. Up to 30 responses are accepted.
As I was organizing the lesson, I learned many useful details about Poll Everyone. For example, it is supported in many countries around the world, but there are several countries that cannot access the service due to mobile service agreements. Fortunately, Saudi Arabia is one of the countries that supports the feature. The free service offered by Poll Everyone has many limitations. In order to access features such as response identity, additional responder space, grade reporting, and response segmentation, a money subscription would be necessary. They have plans for individual teachers for $50 and they will negotiate school-wide and district-wide plans as well.
This lesson plan called “Poll Everyone on Macbeth” gives an idea how this can be used in the classroom.