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Instructional Tools for Engagement: Poll Everywhere

Internet tools that teaching faculty can utilize

Poll Everywhere Links

Poll Everywhere Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Free
  • Different polling options such as multiple choice, open-ended, word cloud, etc.

Cons

  • Clunky and confusing at times
  • Hidden limitations on free version

Poll Everywhere Activity Types

Multiple Choice

A multiple choice activity let's you pose a question and provide different choices for students to select from. From what I could gather, you can add a very large amount of choices.

Word Cloud

A word cloud activity presents a question and let's students input either a word or a phrase. Words or phrases which are repeated more become bigger in the resulting word cloud. A good option if you know there will be many common answers. 

Q&A

You present a question and students can answer it in a free response style. Student can then upvote responses.

Clickable Image

You ask a question and then upload different images which students can choose from. 

Survey

You create a series of questions which students can answer at their own pace. 

Open-Ended

You create a question and students can answer in a free response style. 

Competition

Similar to Multiple Choice questions but with a timer, and students who answer the quickest receive more points. This is similar to a Kahoot! model. 

Poll Everywhere Introduction

To begin, you can create your account by clicking on the link to the left. Make sure you create your account as a presenter. 

Once you have created your account, you will be taken to your dashboard. Something interesting about Poll Everywhere is that you will be given a unique username and presenter room, similar to how you have your own Zoom room. Poll Everywhere refers to this as your "Activity response URL." You will share this with your audience once you are ready to present. 

Image of activity button, a link to "Go to activities", a header that reads "Activity response URL", and my Poll Everywhere URL as an example, which is: PollEv.com/williamortiz131

To begin creating activities, click on the Activity button pictured above. This will take you to the question creation page, which will give you a plethora of different options for question types. 

Image of buttons which read: multiple choice, word cloud, Q&A, clickable image, survey, open ended, and competition. Below there is a field for the title and fields for answer options

The question types we have available are multiple choice, word cloud, Q&A, clickable image, survey, open-ended, and competition. Each question type will present a field where you can type in the question, and for certain types such as multiple choice or clickable image, you can input answer choices or upload images for students to choose from. 

Activating Activities

Once you have your questions created, you must activate them for students to be able to interact with them. This is done by clicking the Activate button at the top right of the screen.

Text that reads "share", and "visual settings" next to buttons with read "Activate" and "Present". Beneath there is a QR code and additional settings and options, which read "configure", "test", and "send"

You should be able to view responses live as they come in. 

Sharing the Activity with Students

To share the activity with students, you have a few options. You can simply provide them with the URL that is given to you when you create your account. The URL will take students to whichever activity is active at any given time. 

The activity has its own QR code. If you are presenting in a classroom and projecting on a screen or presenting via Zoom, you can have students scan the QR code to reach the activity. 

Under the "Send" option at the far right, you also have the option to embed the activity and a direct URL link to the activity. 

Storing Sets of Activities

"New activity" button with the links for "folder" and "upload" next to them. Beneath, a list of folders which read "high school visit", "instruction meeting" and "library ambassador training"

If you are creating different sets of questions for different classes, it is a good idea to categorize them into different folders. This system works much the same way as creating folders in Google Docs, where each question or activity is like a file. Once you sort them into folders, you can create a sequence of questions, where you can go from one question to the next seamlessly within a given folder. 

From your home dashboard, click on "go to activities" next to " +Activity" button.

To create a new folder, click on where it says "Folder." Once your folder is created, you can drag and drop activities into the folder. 

Using Poll Everywhere

Like the other two tools mentioned in this guide, Poll Everywhere is versatile and can be used as a warm-up, exit ticket, or anywhere within your instruction. The draw that Poll Everywhere has for me is that it offers different poll types. That is, you can have multiple choice questions, free response questions, or even word clouds. This can let you ask different levels of questions within the same poll (i.e. comprehension, reflection, etc.). 

Common Mistakes

After you complete an activity with students, their responses remain as part of the activity. So if you do not clear responses, if you present the activity with a new set of students, they will see the responses from the previous group. Therefore, it is a good idea to always clear responses when you are finished with an activity. 

Another common mistake is presenting an activity to a large group of students using the free version. I tried to use a word cloud activity to a group of 70 students and the activity maxed out at something like 25 responses. If using the free version, it is a good idea to keep groups small. 

Finally, another common mistake I have found is that I give students the QR and bring up the activity on my screen, but forget to activate the activity. I have found myself sitting and waiting for responses for some time only to realize I neglected to activate the activity. 

Poll Everywhere Accessibility

Poll Everywhere is compatible with most major screen readers. Read their accessibility report here.