For example, if I'm holding a training session on Google Docs, I may have a poll up as people are arriving to ask them their comfort level with Google Docs at that moment, before the training. I can look at the results quickly before I start and tune my training accordingly based on the data; if most people have zero experience with Google Docs, I would teach differently than I would if I had a large group of people with experience. And if I have some that identify as intermediate or expert, I have some more challenging "take it to the next level" activities in my back pocket for them. Though this data is anonymous and depicts the group as a whole, it still helps me differentiate and support the full spectrum of needs thanks to a quick poll with instant, live results I can use right away.
PollEverywhere is a great formative assessment tool.You can sign up for a free account at PollEverywhere.com. There is the option to upgrade to a paid, premium account (which gives you the ability to enable student registration and grading), but I'm happy with the capabilities of the free account for my needs. Remember - I am just looking for quick, instant feedback to help drive my next lesson or gauge my audience on the fly.
There are two types of questions that you can create: multiple choice or open-ended.
Multiple Choice Poll Questions
|Analyzing results: Before (left) and After (right)|
Open-Ended Poll Questions
PollEverywhere.com is a web-based tool that can be used to support BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) models or 1:1. You're not limited to just texting in a response to a poll, though that is certainly an option I've used with adults before, but responders can use the web response form (located at http://pollev.com) in the browser of any device - laptop, smartphone, tablet, desktop computer, etc. - to answer poll questions. In the free speech example above, students in the classroom had a combination of laptops they borrowed from the school and their own devices that they brought in. I LOVE browser based tools that support technology integration regardless of tech model. If you have a limited number of devices to use, you can always have students group up and collaborate on the question, coming to a consensus and then voting as a group. You could also use the device as a "station" - by refreshing the web response page at pollev.com after submitting your response, you're free to submit another response. So one student could respond, hit refresh, and another student could then respond as well.
The possibilities seem endless, and it's such a quick way to gather informal data that you can turn around and act upon immediately. Head on over to PollEverywhere.com and make an account today!