This was a really inspiring and interesting session where colleagues shared two very different uses of Poll Everywhere which have brought benefits for teachers and students in the London School of Film, Media and Design, and the London College of Music.
Critical engagement, freedom of expression, encouraging attendance
Helen Hester, has been using Poll Everywhere to help improve critical engagement, freedom of expression and attendance in lectures.
In Helen’s Identity and Difference module, class time is used for screening full length films followed by seminars in which students analyse sequences in the film. With so many films available to download and watch at home, Helen wanted to give students a reason to attend her sessions and to make the screenings less passive, more engaging, and focussed.
Helen wrote a series of questions in Poll Everywhere which were designed to prompt critical thought and analysis throughout the film. During the screening, every 10 minutes or so, a new question is pushed to students’ mobile phones prompting them to consider what is happening on screen at that point. Students respond through the app, and the responses are saved and used as the basis for the discussion in the following seminar.
The result has been really positive.
- This is a large class of around 70 students. Using Poll Everywhere in this way has given all students the opportunity to participate, to contribute and to express their ideas.
- It has been particularly useful for opening discussion about sensitive issues such as race, gender and identity.
- The use of questions throughout the film allowed Helen to check understanding during a long and cognitively challenging activity.
- The questions served as pointers about what to look for and to analyse during the screening, giving structure to the session.
- As the responses are anonymous, there is no risk of exposure or embarrassment for the students.
- There are responses from everyone in the class which allows Helen to highlight trends and patterns in the answers that have been received.
- Students tended to be more willing to contribute vocally in the seminars once they have committed to an answer during the screening and seen responses from their peers.
- Some students had anticipated that the module would be alienating but found that using Poll Everywhere made the topic more inclusive and engaging.
With such positive results, Helen encourages her colleagues to use Poll Everywhere. Students have found it a valuable tool, too, and have one request – for their phone to notify them with a buzz each time a new question is available.
Reflection and diagnostic assessment outside the classroom
Jez Wiles has extended his use of Poll Everywhere to outside the classroom; he uses it before and after lectures to help him and students prepare, and to prompt students to reflect on their learning.
Jez uses Poll Everywhere to create a collection of questions and join them together in sequence to create an online survey which can be completed at any time. Responses are then available to Jez to review or share with his students.
I’m starting to use this feature more and more.
Jez explained, “Getting the students to contribute in class with Poll Everywhere is invaluable. However, getting them to use a survey as a post-class reflective tool, or pre-lecture poll to find out what they know about something, or to introduce a topic, or to ask them what they feel they need help with most in the up coming lecture – this has all extended the use of it for me, and boosted engagement. It’s still anonymous, so I get good responses this way.
“As a ‘temperature tester’ I think it’s useful. And I like the sense of fun this tool naturally brings; I always find engagement goes up when I use it.”
If you’re new to Poll Everywhere and want to get started, or if you’re experienced by want to do more and need some guidance, please contact your School’s Academic Developer in Technology Enhanced Learning, or explore the Poll Everywhere pages on our website.
Megaphone image: Joe The Goat Farmer CC BY 2.0