I was reading the current issue of Education Week and came across the educational technology article that spoke about the use of cell phones in the classroom. I know that this is very controversial topic but it got me thinking about the power of these handheld tools and how they can transform instruction in the classroom. In the article they mentioned two different cell phone applications GCast and PollEverywhere which I looked into. I have written about GCast in a previous post and plan on using it for creating on the fly podcasts. Yesterday I had some time and signed up for a free PollEverywhere account. There is a free version for educators in K-12 and Higher Education as well as for consumers for up to 32 responders., for each poll. With more and more schools purchasing clickers or responders here is a free way for educators to get instant feedback in their classrooms via the cell phone.
To get started- go to PollEverywhere.com and set up an account. Once you do this you can start creating your polls. A poll can contain a Multiple Choice Poll ie. What is your favorite color or can be a Free Text Poll whereby students can enter any text they would like to be displayed. Once you have set up your poll the way you like you Open your poll to get started. Once the poll is open your students are given a number to text to along with some "keywords" or numbers that you text to respond. Lets try this one which I have set up for you to try- the polling question is: Which project management software application are you presently using? To respond to the poll you need to send a text from your cell phone to the following number "99503". Here are the possible responses: text 35687 for Fast Schedule, text 35688 for JCVGantt Pro, text 35689 for Microsoft Project, text 35690 for Mind2Chart, text 35684 for Project KickStart, and text 35691 for None of the Above. Once you send the text the data is automatically updated on the web for you or you can download a specially formatted PowerPoint slide that will automatically collect and graph the data. Individuals who don't have access to a cell phone can also enter the data on the web. I have set up some polls that I will use with my graudate students in a couple of weeks and let you know how it goes. I always like to model using new technology and I will be interested in what they think about PollEverywhere. So try it out for yourself and if I get some repsonders I will report on the data. Once a poll is clsoed you can embed the results on a website or a blog or download the results data in an Excel formatted worksheet. Have fun and is that your final answer!