December 13, 2012, 11:00 am
Poll Everywhere is an online service that allows you to poll an audience through text-messaging. The polling mechanism is quite simple (and therefore easy for audiences to use): every answer in your poll has a unique number, and audience members text that number to Poll Everywhere’s 6-digit short code. The real magic occurs next, as you and your audience watch the results roll in, live.
I’ve been saying “audience,” but what I really have in mind is “students.” You ask your students a question, they respond, and the results appear instantly and anonymously. The survey graphs dynamically resize themselves according to the latest results, which is quite fun to watch as a group. Pedagogically-speaking, Poll Everywhere is similar to clickers in the classroom, but it uses technology most students already have—their cell phones. From the professor’s perspective all it…
June 23, 2011, 3:00 pm
Hopefully you’ve heard by now, but clickers are a great tool to use in the classroom to facilitate student learning through peer instruction (PI). Much has been written about them, and if you are new to clickers and PI I encourage you to take a look at what others have said about them, especially the pedagogy they support. Two must-have starting resources are Eric Mazur’s Peer Instruction: A User’s Manual and Derek Bruff’s Teaching with Classroom Response Systems: Creating Active Learning Environments.
What I like about Bruff’s book is that he uses the more general term of “classroom response systems”(CRS) instead of clickers. As Nathanial Lasry said in his article, “Clickers or Flashcards: Is There Really a Difference?” (Phys. Teach. 46, 242 (2008) ), “the pedagogy is not the technology by itself.” Clickers are great for implementing the pedagogy, but sometimes the expense or…
October 19, 2010, 3:00 pm
This is a guest post by Derek Bruff, assistant director at the Vanderbilt University Center for Teaching and senior lecturer in mathematics at Vanderbilt. You can follow Derek on Twitter (@derekbruff) and on his blog, where he writes about educational technology, student motivation, and visual thinking, among other topics.
I teach math courses, but for the first time this fall, I’m teaching a first-year writing seminar. It’s still a math course, since the topic is cryptography (codes and code-breaking), but it has a healthy dose of history and, perhaps most significantly, writing. I’ve not taught writing before, as you can imagine, but I’m embracing the chance to broaden my teaching horizons.
Teaching a writing seminar has also provided me with an opportunity to use clickers in ways that are new to me. Classroom response systems (“clickers”) are technologies that…