Two days ago I wrote about some of the basic concepts necessary for authentically integrating technology into the classroom. Today’s post is about a nifty web 2.0 tool you can use to enhance learning in your classroom. Introducing PollEverywhere!
PollEverywhere is a polling website that allows you to ask multiple users a question or a set of questions. On the surface, it is similar to other audience response systems such as Socrative and Kahoot, but dig a little deeper and you’ll discover a much sleeker program.
The First Day of School
Picture this: your freshmen walk into class on their first day of high school. You decide to use PollEverywhere as both an icebreaker and as an easy way to assess the students’ needs. The kids take out their SMS-enabled phones (flip-phones work too), you project a PowerPoint or Keynote presentation with directions for accessing the survey on the board, and they all take out their cell phones (you should probably have a conversation about appropriate cell phone use in the classroom first).
The first question pops up: “Which middle school did you attend last year?” The students use their cell phones to answer the question, and then the image on the board seamlessly changes to represent student responses in real-time. Cool, right?
Perhaps you also want the students to collaboratively create class norms. Just ask a short answer question, and PollEverywhere will then automatically sort their answers into a word cloud, making it extremely easy for students to see what is most important to their peers. No more typing student responses into Wordle after school!
Flip Your Classroom!
I’ve always wanted to try flipping some of my lessons, but the idea has always intimidated me a bit. How would I know if my students watched the video before coming to class? What do I do with the students who didn’t watch the video before coming to class? What programs do I use to make the videos?
I’ll write more about flipped classrooms later, but PollEverywhere has inspired me to actually try it this year. After assigning a video, I can have the students post questions to PollEverywhere before coming to class, or as a bell-ringer at the beginning of the period. If necessary, I can adjust my lesson for the day to reflect the students questions from the night before.
PollEverywhere and SAMR
So, how do my ideas for PollEverywhere fare against the SAMR Model? I’m not sure. PollEverywhere definitely passes the substitution stage because it acts as a direct substitute for having the students turn in their questions on a sheet of paper. PollEverywhere’s slick way of organizing and presenting data easily bumps it up to the augmentation stage, because it is much more functional and efficient than traditional paper polling. But does it “allow for significant task redesign” required to reach the Modification stage? I’m not sure. All I know is PollEverywhere will streamline assessment, giving teachers more time to adjust instruction to meet students’ needs.
Check out my post on using Animoto in the classroom! You can also check out my post on how the SAMR model can help you rock evaluative observations.