Are you interested in using a new tool to facilitate student engagement in your Spring 2019 course? “Poll Everywhere” is a live polling tool that allows students to submit answers, in real-time, to closed or open-ended prompts that instructors create. Students can respond using the Poll Everywhere website, the mobile app, or even through text messages.
There is still some time to learn how to use Poll Everywhere this semester!
Poll Everywhere allows students to submit answers on the Poll Everywhere website, the mobile app, or even through text messages to close or open-ended polls that you create. In the video below, Assistant Professor of Political Science Eric Loepp discusses how he used Poll Everywhere in his course.
Last week I looked at a couple of communication tips. This week I want to focus on another specific tool that is available for use like a clicker for student engagement: Poll Everywhere. I also want to share the story of how one of our instructors Lori Trimble, from the social work department has used Poll Everywhere in her class! Finally, there are a couple of training opportunities if you are interested in learning more about Poll Everywhere to see how you could adapt it for your own use.
Poll Everywhere is an interactive tool adopted for use on the UW-Whitewater campus. It allows you to create poll questions and prompts, which students can respond to in “real-time” through mobile apps, text messages, or the Poll Everywhere website. You can then display the responses live to the class, and incorporate what you find out into class discussions and group activities.
One way to use Poll Everywhere would be to use an open-ended question to kick off a group discussion with a colorful word cloud. Another way is collect live, anonymous results by an audience who can participate via a website or mobile device. Responses can appear live, in real-time, directly in PowerPoint presentations. The most recent update has introduced live competitions! Have you ever encountered interactive pub trivia or other trivia contests with live leaderboards? Now you can build that into your class with your content using Poll Everywhere.
One of the great things about it is that you engage your classroom without any clunky and easy-to-forget hardware. You can use a device most people have at all times — a mobile phone. You can also ask students to use their phones, tablets, or laptops to respond to polls that you present. The results appear live on the display. You can use this tool to quiz your class, discuss the results, and use that insight to guide the classroom discussions.
I took some time to interview Lori Trimble of the Social Work Department. Lori joined the Social Work department as the Academic Department Associate (ADA) in January 2017.
I asked Lori what challenges she was facing in the classroom and what she was using to solve them. One of the tools she talked about was Webex Teams – but the other one was Poll Everywhere.
Lori: I was teaching New Student Seminar, with brand new freshmen. I broke them into small groups and that created lively conversations and discussions…but as soon as I combined a conversation to a full class: “CRICKETS!” There had to be a better way to keep the conversations flowing.
Ted: What did you try? What did you do to get additional engagement?
Lori: I started using Poll Everywhere. Specifically, using open-ended questions to encourage engagement. Since the lesson was on engagement, this seemed a good way to get ideas flowing.
Ted: How did it work? Did you incentivize it at all?
Lori: It worked great! While I was a bit nervous that with an open-ended question, I might get a smart aleck response, people started providing answers to the questions right away. It was clear once one student shared an idea others reacted similarly. It was a great way to get engagement; specifically some people not brave enough to raise their hand, this gives students a great way to participate without fear because their answers appear anonymously on the screen.
After class – I was able to generate a user report because I limited my polls to registered users. I wanted to award participation points to students for joining in the conversation. This provided a way to get students involved, and I was able to record their activity.
Ted: Why do you think this was a valuable tool to use? How effective was it?
Lori: It was VERY easy for students to use, and the platform for creating polls is very user friendly. I asked them to bring a phone or laptop, and they did. I wanted to get students engaged – Poll Everywhere helped prompt the discussion; I facilitated it. Students were very excited to use the discussions in this way.
Ted: Did you encounter any challenges or barriers to using it?
Lori: There were a couple of hiccups. I did not realize being logged in for the first question didn’t necessarily mean I was logged in for subsequent questions. Texting responses did not work as smoothly as I hoped with registered users – but overall it was very intuitive.
I want to thank Lori for sharing some of her experiences using Poll Everywhere in the classroom! If you are interested in exploring more about how to get started using Poll Everywhere there are a couple of upcoming information sessions. The sign-up links are below in resources (please note you will need to log in with your UWW credentials to register).
Next week we return to the 2018 Horizon Report and look at the Challenges facing technology and higher education.
Ted Witt –Teaching, Learning, and Technology Consultant
Last week, I introduced the idea of “learning technologies” as the broad range of communication, information, and related technologies that support learning, teaching, and assessment. This week, I want to explore a few upcoming Learning Technology Center (LTC) activities where you can learn more about various “learning technologies”.
Welcome Back Week
One of the most important events at the start of the academic year is Welcome Back Week. Each year, ICIT hosts a Technology Open House where faculty, staff, and students explore new campus technology and technology related initiatives. This year’s Tech Open House is Wednesday, August 29 from 1:30 – 4:30 pm in UC 275. You will find hands-on interactive demonstrations, information from vendors, and can participate in a “GooseChase” scavenger hunt. There will be free food and door prizes. Complete scavenger hunt missions to win additional door prize entries. See the resources section at the end of this TED Tip for more information on how to get started on the GooseChase.
In addition to the Technology Open House, there are several Canvas workshops throughout “Welcome Back Week”. These workshops cover a variety of topics from getting started in Canvas, a look at building content, and a more hands-on approach to features like “SpeedGrader” and other ways to expedite grading and provide feedback. These workshops will are all held in Hyland 3101.
Introduction to Canvas — Friday, August 24 from 8:30 – noon
Using Canvas for Grading and Feedback – Friday, August 24 from 2:00 – 3:00 pm
How to Build Content in Canvas – Tuesday, August 28 from 3:30 – 4:30 pm
LEARN Center/LTC Collaborative Workshop Series
The LTC/LEARN Center collaborative series for the 2018-2019 is on the theme of “Back to Basics to Balance Workload” and will focus on strategies to improve your teaching practice and student learning without adding to your workload. The first session “Efficient and Effective Communication Strategies,” will be Thursday, September 20 from 12:30 until 1:45 pm in UC259A. Heather Pelzel, Biological Sciences and LEARN Center and Ted Witt from the LTC will present communications strategies to help you:
Establish expectations and boundaries for communications between instructor and students.
Evaluate strategies for determining academic “at-risk” students and tips for how and when to facilitate academic interventions.
Explore methods to use CANVAS for additional ways to communicate with students.
The other workshops in the fall series will be on October 18th “Best practices on providing effective feedback using low-tech and high-tech options” and November 27th “Using groups to engage students and maximize your class time”.
Teaching with Technology
Searching for ways to build community with students in your online class? Looking for a way to facilitate communication and collaboration between your students in your face-to-face class? You may benefit from the Learning Technology Center’s (LTC) “Teaching with WebEx Teams Bootcamp!” Webex Teams is an app for continuous teamwork with video meetings, group messaging, file sharing and white boarding. This three part series is on Wednesdays at 3:00 pm in October.
Why Should I Use WebEx Teams? October 10
How Do I Use WebEx Teams? October 17
Now What Do I Do With WebEx Teams? October 24
Additionally, there are two upcoming “Poll Everywhere” information sessions. Poll Everywhere is a polling application that can enhance live interactive audience participation in class in real time. You can learn more about “Using Poll Everywhere to Engage Students” through two upcoming workshops:
September 26 at 3:00pm
October 4 at 11:00 am
Institute for Online / Blended Teaching
If you are new to teaching online or blended courses, or are interested in revitalizing a current course, the Institute for Online/Blended Teaching provides instructors the opportunity to collaborate on course design strategies and teaching best practices. This intensive and interactive series of workshops simulates taking a blended course and integrates a variety of different methods and technologies. The structure of the Institute allows participants to explore new instructional and course design methods, and participate in learning activities similar to what a student would experience. Look for registration for the Winter 2018 program early this fall.