#7 5 Minute Meals for ICT

January 2, 2009 § Leave a comment

Topic or Tool: Online Polling. This overview looks at when and how polls can be used. Polls are embedded in our College webpage but there are also web options. We use polls to monitor opinions from students and parents but also to encourage students to engage with the website. For example our students recently correctly predicted the outcome of the X Factor final.

What does it cost? For the most part FREE.

How it could be used for teaching? There are a range of options here.

Most Web polling software are free and they require no technical knowledge. Lets take a look at a few, but there are plenty more than that. Note the key differences are HOW users vote and How you interact with the site.

1. The very first polling software I used was SurveyMonkey. I used it to gather student feedback about the course. I then used this information to develop and steer the course. In the post 16 sector, gauging and responding to the students was very important. Still a very powerful tool, basic subscribers (FREE) are limited to a total of 10 questions and 100 responses per survey. So good for a cohort or group but if you want to go beyond 100 respondents, and up to 1000 or gain access many more features, there is a cost. 8/10

2. Micropoll– This web poll service doesn’t require registration and you can create a quick poll by simply typing all the possible choices in a text box separated by new lines. Great for quick hit question. Micropoll provides a variety of colored themes and you can embed polls in websites either as JavaScript or a Flash movie. You get to see poll responses on a world map and the paid version also supports SMS polls.

3. Google Docs – Simply fantastic. Create a new form in Google Docs with a range of questions styles. Its already been used to gather cross college data in our establishment. With the help of some online colleagues, we have added the function of instant grading. Here is a highly developed spelling test formwith extras, marked instantaneously – now I have your attention don’t I. Or how about lesson review forms for students to feedback to teachers. Here is a form for Unit 4 from the OCR Nationals, two groups in two separate rooms competed against one another. Tom Barrett does a great job with Google Docs. With the pros, come the cons. Poll embedding options in Google Docs aren’t very convenient and users can’t see the results after voting but you can convert answers to gadgets….. but that’s another meal.

4. PollDaddyis the most popular online polling software focused as an online solution. A free account from PollDaddy allows you to create surveys and polls for your website, blog and social network profiles.

5. StrawPoll – This is an interesting service that lets you run live polls on Twitter. Good for your PLN not necessarily for school.

poll-everywhere6. Poll Everywhere – This could be a student poll, but also good for conference or staff CPD participation. I hope to work with Poll Everywhere in the New Year. Although fine as a web poll, Poll. Poll Everywhere also offers SMS Polls where people can vote though text messaging on mobile phones just like polls conducted on TV or radio. The basic plan is free though it only allows 30 votes per poll.

There are more, Notifu, Vizu Polls and Toluna. The question is, what works for you.

imageWhich polling software is right for me?

All the services discussed above offer some unique options. For instance, Notifu allows polling via email while Micropoll lets you create polls even without asking for your email address. So, if you are doing a poll with students and want to use the result instantly or present the results go with Poll Everywhere, their ppt integretion is very neat.

If you are a doing a presentation in a conference room and need opinions of participants over a certain topic, try Poll Everywhere again, hoping everyone has either a phone or laptop they can join in with.

If you need polls for embedding in web pages, Poll Daddy, the free version of PollDaddy offers unlimited polls and unlimited number of votes, however you will need the Pro version for if you want to prevent fraudulent multiple votes from the same IP address.

For use with students and staff responses, I dont think you can beat the ease of Google Docs. Certainly if you want the students to fill in data, then Google docs rocks. Bring the data to life with Google Gadgets or Many Eyes.

Polling in action….

 

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