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By Kim Loenhart, Educational Technology Development Coordinator, EDC

On November 07, 2018, the Educational Development Centre held its first Poll Everywhere Community of Practice (PECP) lunch. Seven experienced professors came together to share lunch and ideas about using Poll Everywhere in the classroom.

The participants spanned teaching disciplines, from biology and physics to psychology and neuroscience, to global and international studies and linguistics and applied language studies.

Each professor shared stories of using polling in their classrooms, and brought forward successes and key issues they’ve experienced. Members of the EDC’s educational technology team facilitated the session and heard important feedback about Poll Everywhere. Here is what we learned:

Instructors are using Poll Everywhere for

  • Assessing formative understanding in think/pair/share activities
  • Creating word clouds to identify the most difficult concept in lectures
  • Practicing and discussing math equations and scientific concepts
  • Identifying and analyzing images relevant to the course
  • Assessing student prior knowledge to guide lecture topics and discussions
  • Hearing from students in large classes and from quiet students who might not want to speak aloud

Issues professors are wrestling with

  • Keeping students participating in the polls (mark assignment vs. anonymous participation)
  • Including Poll Everywhere in large online classes effectively
  • Integrating LaTeX format into regular question formats in Poll Everywhere
  • Importing images into Poll Everywhere without distortion or reduction in quality
  • Filtering profanity and moderating inappropriate comments beyond using the basic profanity filter
  • Clearing data from polls inside and outside of the Poll Everywhere website
  • Organizing polls using groups, and the need for a folder system to better structure the Poll Everywhere interface
  • Integrating Poll Everywhere into PowerPoint or KeyNote slides

The community of practice participants discussed all of these ideas and issues. Some issues were solvable with work-arounds, while some require intervention or changes at the vendor level (i.e., with Poll Everywhere developers). The ed tech team facilitators provided some updates about Poll Everywhere as well, and some additional strategies for overcoming issues.

What was clear in all these discussions is that instructors have great ideas to share with one another and appreciate hearing and seeing what was happening in other classrooms!

The EDC hopes to host more Poll Everywhere Community of Practice sessions in Winter 2019. If you would like to be part of a future Poll Everywhere Community of Practice, or are interested in using Poll Everywhere in general, please email us at edtech@carleton.ca and let us know. We would love to have more of our user community involved and to hear how you are using this tech tool.

If you would like more information, we also have workshops and consultations to assist you.

We hope to see you at a future community of practice event!