Poll Everywhere user group

February 12, 2016 at 11:03 am | Posted in student response systems | Leave a comment
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PollEverywhere_Dani_Arama

Monday saw the first meeting of the UK HE/FE Poll Everywhere user group, held at Regent’s University London in an oasis of green at the heart of that city. The attendance of around 35 people shows the level of interest in Poll Everywhere, a system which has its roots in education.

Dani Arama, PE’s education support manager, had flown in from San Fransico, and gave us an quick tour of new features and a heads-up of others still in development – for example an attendance tool. She was also able to clarify some of our questions about licencing and it was reassuring to hear that if (for example) you paid for 2000 licences, there was no hard ‘cut off’ and that there would just be a discussion with PE about moving to a more suitable plan. In addition, she said that with prior negotiation some exceptional uses could be taken into account, such as use at a one-off big conference. This is clearly a different model to that we have with ResponseWare, where I’ve had to set up a shared calendar to help tutors ensure that we don’t exceed our licence limit (250) to avoid some students not being able to vote.

There were three presentations from current users:

Jorge Freire from City University London outlined their pilot project to evaluate and compare Poll Everywhere and ResponseWare. Areas of interest include integration with their VLE, analytics and reports, account management, authentication and ease of use in practice. They will also be exploring tutor’s concerns about the use of mobile phones in class and the increased potential for distraction.

Darren Gash from the University of Surrey discussed their move from Turning Point clickers available through library loans to Poll Everywhere. Some students were reluctant to borrow and use the clickers as their ws a £50 fine if they lost it, and in a survey 87% of 149 students preferred using own device to clickers, and 93% of 150 found PE easy to use. He also introduced two case studies – in one, students studying a ‘Pyschology and Education’ module discussed a topic in class then typed their individual 100-150 response into an open text question. The tutor downloaded all the responses, gave each brief feedback and uploaded that as a single document to the VLE the following day. Initially student answers were shorter and the tutor feedback longer, but as the weeks went on that reversed – they provided better, more detailed answers and less feedback was required.

Denis Duret from the University of Liverpool shared the outcomes of a comparative study between card Communicubes, Turning Point clickers and Poll Everywhere; 62% of students preferred PE. The clickers were seen as more reliable and less distracting than phones, but students didn’t like cost. Again, their were staff concerns about the use of mobile phones in class.

The user group also discussed ideas for activities and meetings; the preference was for regular webinars plus an annual face-to-face event.

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