Using Poll Everywhere to Increase Classroom Engagement
Read about how using the popular "Competitions" feature and the integration with Canvas improves student interaction and learning experiences.Amy Linville | Division for Teaching Innovation and Program Strategy Oct 9, 2023
Poll Everywhere is our university's live online polling software. CU Denver acquired this tool in early 2023 and has been changing the way instructors interact and engage with their students. Recently, we checked in with one of our Poll Everywhere power users to see how students engage with this tool. Kathryn Hamilton is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Physics. Here is what she had to say about Poll Everywhere.
"I first became aware of Poll Everywhere at the start of the Spring 2023 semester. I attended one of the TIPS 'Intro to Tech Tools' webinars on the hunt for ideas to make my class more engaging for my General Physics I students. A few more instructional videos later, I used Poll Everywhere in my class for the first time in early February and have used it for every class session since then!
The Poll Everywhere app is very intuitive to use and provides multiple different styles of questioning. My students enjoy Poll Everywhere "Competitions," where they answer multiple-choice questions, and scores are assigned based on how quickly they select the correct answer compared to their peers. Students love seeing the leaderboard after every question. I appreciate the display showing the percentage of participants choosing each multiple-choice option, as it allows me to see if there are any concepts I need to clarify. After the Competition, I like to use a word cloud, clickable smile sheet, or emoji poll to ask the students how they felt about the class that day.
Using the Poll Everywhere open-ended question option, I asked my class "Do you think clicker questions improve class engagement?" Of the 42 students who responded, 40 answered positively, with comments such as:
- "Yes, it's fun, light-hearted competition."
- "Yes, I do. It helps me to remember what I got wrong and what concepts I need to work on more."
- "Yes. I also like the extra practice and the immediate feedback they offer."
- "Yeah! I can talk to classmates about it."
Students also used a Poll Everywhere numeric rating question to rate the software itself, awarding it a score of 3.8 out of 5, with 4 the modal score.
As an instructor, I can see several advantages of Poll Everywhere over similar clicker question solutions. The direct bridge with Canvas allows me to sync my class roster with Poll Everywhere, and export students' scores or participation percentages directly into the Canvas gradebook. The Poll Everywhere app allows me to easily organize activities into folders (I label the folders by topic), which I can then copy and edit for future classes. I also like how the Poll Everywhere app allows me to insert the clicker questions and competition leaderboards as slides directly into a Keynote or PowerPoint presentation, so I don't have to switch from my lecture slides to a different app or web browser. I simply keep advancing through my presentation, and Poll Everywhere updates my slides with student responses. Students can also scan a QR code, copy the web address, or respond via text message. These options are displayed at the top of every question slide, so people can quickly rejoin if they lose internet connection they can use their phone or a laptop to answer, and they do not have to bring physical clickers with them. As a Physics instructor, I appreciate the ability to use LaTex with Poll Everywhere when creating questions making special characters and equations very simple. The option to use images in multiple-choice answers is really useful, too!
The final positive of Poll Everywhere is the cost. Thanks to the CU Denver Enterprise license, Poll Everywhere is free for instructors and students!"
Poll Everywhere has several ways you can utilize this tool to increase classroom engagement:
- Export students' scores or participation percentages directly to the Canvas gradebook.
- Insert poll questions directly onto slides in PowerPoint, Keynote, and Google Slides
- Poll Everywhere has several question types:
- Word Cloud
- Multiple Choice
- Q & A
- Clickable Image
- Students have options for how to respond to polls:
- QR Code
- Copying the web address
- Text messaging
To learn more about Poll Everywhere, check out our Poll Everywhere video training series.