New Ways to Ask: Poll Everywhere and the Next Generation of Student Response SystemsAugust 10, 2011

Chat Transcript

Facilitators: Emily Rimland and Alice Whiteside, Penn State University

Alice Whiteside: Welcome, everyone!

Alice Whiteside: If you could all take a moment to take our poll (link above) that would be great

Alice Whiteside: Today we're going to be talking about Poll Everywhere and how we've been using it in library instruction

EmilyRimland: And, if you'd like to see the results of the poll, you should be able to see those here:

EmilyRimland: It will continue to update as people respond today

Alice Whiteside: It looks like many of you have used some type of student response system before

Alice Whiteside: We'll briefly introduce how we've been using this one

EmilyRimland: Alice and I thought we could talk a little about how we've used Poll Everywhere (PE) so we have some context for the discussion. Sound ok?

Arianne Hartsell-Gundy: yes

Alice Whiteside: excellent. And Steve can answer any technical questions that come up

Alice Whiteside: Emily and I have been using Poll Everywhere questions as ice-breakers, discussion starters, and pre- and post-tests

Alice Whiteside: in one-shot sessions, usually with 20-27 students

EmilyRimland: These class first-year students, first-year seminars, introductory classes etc., but that is the nature of our
 positions here at PSU

EmilyRimland: Really you can use it for avariety of classes...

Alice Whiteside: we've found that the fact that answers are anonymous helps encourage participation

Alice Whiteside: and students are more likely to contribute to a discussion after they've already answered a related question

EmilyRimland: 36% of people here said that they've never used polling in a class before. PE might be a good thing to try, you can get a basic account for free just to test it out

Cindy: Can you tell us a bit about how it works? Is this one that uses cell phones?

EmilyRimland: Cindy, yes, you can use cell phones with PE but you can also use the web and twitter to collect responses

Alice Whiteside: We usually have students use texting

Baylor: Do answers have to be anonymous or can they be tied to individuals?

EmilyRimland: Baylor, you can collect # but the respondants would have to text them to you

Anne B: are you able to collect all responses and keep for later reference? (and do you?

EmilyRimland: Here's an example of what you can display in a classroom:

Alice Whiteside: We do

Alice Whiteside: we have a pro account, which automatically archives responses

Baylor: emily can you clarify your answer?

Alice Whiteside: with the free account you have to export your answers after each poll

EmilyRimland: Sure, the answers are by default if you want to be able to tie an answer to someone, you'd have to ask them to text in (voluntarily) their number so you could then correlate answers

DrakeLibrarian: @Alice, I'm able to see old polls in my free account

EmilyRimland: We have done all of ours as anonymous polls

Cal Poly SLO: Is there a time limit on the free account (e.g., 30 days)?

EmilyRimland: As Alice said, students seem to really like the fact that it's anonymous...they are most honest that way we feel

Alice Whiteside: @DrakeLibrarian - that's great! With all responses?

Alice Whiteside: @Cal Poly, the free account is permanent, it just doesn't have as many bells and whistles

Alice Whiteside: was that your question?

Cal Poly SLO: yes

DrakeLibrarian: @Alice we've just been playing around with it in demos this summer. I'll be curious to see how it lasts once peak instruction season starts in a few weeks.

EmilyRimland: @Anne we do keep our responses for later reference

Alice Whiteside: Does anyone else want to share how they've used student response systems in library instruction?
Cal Poly SLO: do you all share the pro account or are they individual pro accounts for each of you?

Baylor: If there is no display in the classroom, how do you get the question to them?

Alice Whiteside: We share the pro account -that's the main reason we got it, so we could share an account

Anne B: I haven't in instruction, but I tried it once for a presentation (an old clicker system). I think that polleverywhere
would be much easier to use in that setting as well!

Arianne Hartsell-Gundy: Do you mostly use multiple choice questions?

Alice Whiteside: @Arianne - we use both multiple choice and free-text (open response)

DrakeLibrarian: @Arianne I use an open-ended to start (ice-breaker) and a multiple choice later to assess learning
 outcomes question. I think she just verbally tells them the codes and results.

Baylor: So there is no way to push the question to them via sms?

Alice Whiteside: @Arianne - One of the questions we like to start with is "What are your feelings about research?" and students can text in whatever response they want

Robin Miller: could you share some examples of the multiple choice and open response questions you have used in info lit instruction?

Alice Whiteside: @Baylor I don't know! @Steve, does PE have a way to push questions out via sms?

EmilyRimland: Here's what a "free text" response result looks like when students text in answers to: What are your feelings about research":

Alice Whiteside: @Robin, Emily is pulling up a couple of examples for us

polleverywhere_steve: @ Alice, @ Baylor we do have this feature (altough do not market it on the site) mainly because it requires training and is costly, mostly do to our commitment to strictly adhere to MMA guidelines (spam, privacy, etc.)

Alice Whiteside: usually I start with that free text question and follow it with a multiple choice question about evaluating web sources

Alice Whiteside: @Steve - thanks!

Julie Greenberg: I've used SurveyMonkey to create polls for the beginning of class to get a sense of what students already know (esp. in the spring) so that I don't waste time on it.

Julie Greenberg: It also provides justification for what I do focus on

Arianne Hartsell-Gundy: I've used Google Forms in a similar way

Julie Greenberg: But PE would be so much easier (getting link to SurveyMonkey to students was a challenge)

Alice Whiteside: very cool, Julie! Do you have them take the survey in the beginning of class?

Alice Whiteside: PE would make that easier

Julie Greenberg: yep.  I usually do a few serious questions, and then a silly one

Alice Whiteside: plus you get to ask them to please take out their cell phones, which makes for a fun moment

Cindy: Can you give us an example of a silly question?

Julie Greenberg: E.g., "True or False: You can use Google to find scholarly articles?" (serious question)

EmilyRimland: Here's a "silly" one we've used:

Cindy: That's a great question Emily!

EmilyRimland: And a "silly" one we do at the end to reinforce asking for help:

Julie Greenberg: Multiple choice: "Cats That Look Like Ron Swanson, Nic Cage as Everyone, or Facebomb?"  Answers: "A)
 Cats That Look Like Ron Swanson,               Nic
 Cage as Everyone, C) Facebomb, D) What's
 a Nic Cage?" [Keep in mind this was last

polleverywhere_steve: If i could &quot             oll" the room - What is your average class
polleverywhere_steve: *poll

Anne B: 24

Arianne Hartsell-Gundy: 25 to 30 people

Cindy: 20

Julie Greenberg: Less than 20

Alice Whiteside: 24 for us too

Baylor: two hundred fifity

Jodi: 22-28

polleverywhere_steve: @Baylor k-12! Or higher ed?

Baylor: higer ed

EmilyRimland: @Baylor WOW!

Baylor: *higher ed

polleverywhere_steve: phew ok

Baylor: we are interested in using it outside of the classroom

EmilyRimland: One thing we have noticed it that it works best with at least 10-12 students

Baylor: to continue the conversation started in class

EmilyRimland: Only because, fewer than that, kind of takes away the anonymity of the polls

Cal Poly SLO: are these tools ADA accessible?

Cindy: Can you tell us more about that,  Baylor?

Baylor: we use clickers successfully inside the classroom but noticed that students prefer to use text outside of the classroom

Alice Whiteside: @Baylor, we've only used them in class so far, but we're working on putting some polls up on plasma screens during our annual libraries' open house this fall

Julie Greenberg: @Alice - Great idea!

Baylor: sending post assessment questions after class is one possible use

Cindy: I was just thinking about putting up polls on our web page but I like Alice's idea

Alice Whiteside: you can also set up polls to be purely web-based, such as the one we started with today

polleverywhere_steve: @K12 educators - keep in mind the free account allows 40 responses/class size per poll but we also have the classroom size promise

DeborahMSU: can students answer via text or web in same poll?
polleverywhere_steve: polls can also be embedded in a website or blog

EmilyRimland: @Baylor maybe you could you could use the web polls to push the questions out through a CMS to the class (via Blackboard etc.)?

Alice Whiteside: @Deborah, yes! You can set preferences for each poll about how you want to allow responses to be sent in

Alice Whiteside: @Deborah, yes! You can set preferences for each poll about how you want to allow responses to be sent in

EmilyRimland: Also, we haven't used it ourselves, but you can embed PE polls in Powerpoint slides or Prezi

Baylor: we're hoping for an all in one Platform

DrakeLibrarian: I use PE in PowerPoint and love that it stores responses there

DrakeLibrarian: and updates live

Alice Whiteside: @Baylor, can you explain a little more what you mean?

Baylor: we want the questions and answers contatined in SMS

Baylor: *contained

Alice Whiteside: I see. Maybe Steve can email you later with more info about the options in PE

DrakeLibrarian: @Baylor Like text-a-librarian?

Baylor: @Alice That would be great

EmilyRimland: A few best practices that Alice and I have learned:

EmilyRimland: tell students it's anonymous and voluntary up front (95% of them will participate)

polleverywhere_steve: @baylor – contact   steve @

Alice Whiteside: On the topic of live updates, we like seeing the results displayed as they  come in, but you can also set PE questions to not display results immediately

Baylor: No, like SMS based multiple choice  Q/A, ect.

EmilyRimland: tell students that they can be honest with their answers (you won't take offense if they don't like research              

Baylor: @polleverywhere Will do

Alice Whiteside: you might want to think about advantages/disadvantages of live display, e.g. crowd mentality/bias

EmilyRimland: Also, it helps to tell them that the polls help YOU know what to show them

DrakeLibrarian: @Alice I sometimes turn off the display for 30-60 seconds while they think, then turn it back on to display the answers

Alice Whiteside: @Drake, nice.

Alice Whiteside: I would definitely recommend people try it out in different ways and see what seems to work best for you and for your students

EmilyRimland: Another: remind students to put their phones away AFTER you are done polling with PE

Alice Whiteside: Does anyone else have tips from their experience with student response systems?

Baylor: what if an instructor goes to mexico city (ie international), are there any issues that may arise?

Julie Greenberg: Tip: Think about your transition from the results into the next topic (so it doesn't seem unrelated)

EmilyRimland: @Julie good one!

Alice Whiteside: @Baylor, we haven't tried anything internationally. Another question for Steve, I think.

EmilyRimland: @Julie I would build on that and say, if you are going to ask for feedback, be prepared to change your lesson plan based on the feedback

Alice Whiteside: Excellent point, Emily

Julie Greenberg: yes.  I've used feedback to shape what I focus on or gloss over

EmilyRimland: @Julie that's great!

EmilyRimland: One good resource is 7 things to know about open-response systems by Educause:

EmilyRimland: It's a good overview of pros/cons, uses

polleverywhere_steve: @baylor check out i can explain in more detail as well over email

Baylor: @steve any international counsel?

EmilyRimland: So, if you want to try out PE in a class, we recommend starting small

EmilyRimland: Maybe just with one question at the beginning, multiple choice for example

Alice Whiteside: This might be obvious, but also think about your class/audience and what this kind of poll could add that would be more effective than having students, say, raise hands or shout out answers

Alice Whiteside: for example, the fact that it's anonymous is often an advantage

Alice Whiteside: but I had one class this summer that ended up being much smaller than expected - only 8 students - and with a small class it was easier/more effective to have students raise their hands

Alice Whiteside: but if you have a small class and anonymous answers would still be desirable, PE might be good then too

EmilyRimland: Overall, we have had really good results with it. Students seem to LOVE it and really respond to it

EmilyRimland: We'd be happy to answer any other questions offline

Arianne Hartsell-Gundy: good to hear that students really like it

EmilyRimland: My email is erimland @

Alice Whiteside: and mine is alicew @

Alice Whiteside: We're getting near the end of the hour

DrakeLibrarian: Thanks. I got some great tips and ideas!

Alice Whiteside: Thanks so much for joining us today!

EmilyRimland: @Drake that's awesome

DeborahMSU: will this chat be available later? I'd like to share with our instruction group.

Julie Greenberg: Thank you Alice & Emily - this was great!

EmilyRimland: @Deborah yes it will be archived on the acrl on point web site

Arianne Hartsell-Gundy: thank you!

Margot Conahan: Yes, I'll have the chat archive up in the next day or so.

DeborahMSU: thank you!

Margot Conahan: Thanks for your time today!

EmilyRimland: Thanks everyone! Happy polling!