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Dr Mike J Smith
Kingston University

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Txt polls.....

Mon, 02 Apr 2012

It's good to bring a little more interactivity in to talks and presentations, particularly where you want to generate some feedback, produce discussion points or gauge audience consensus. In an analogue world we might use a questionnaire, perhaps at the beginning of a class, and then feedback the results at the end. If it was distance learning or over a longer period of time we might consider a Delphi Probe. In a digital world we can take advantage of instant feedback to generate interactivity in class: these are generically called personal response systems (PRS) which use either IR or radio "clickers" to register a response to a question on screen. However you need to set the kit up or have them permanently installed, all of which is a faff or too expensive. As a result I've never much bothered with them. However the alternative is.... sitting in your pocket! Yes, the mobile phone offers by far the simplest and easiest solution, through txting. This isn't new and txting is being used in an increasingly varied number of interesting applications, however it is reaching a certain level of critical mass.

I use the PollEverywhere service which is simple, efficient and effective. I can set up free form or multiple choice questions and, the killer output, a live graph on the screen that updates in realtime (either through their website or integrated in to your PPT presentation). The majority of people are happy to participate either because txts are free or they want to participate. PollEverywhere is free up to a 30 participant event then you have to pay. Good for lectures though and you can export results if you want to. Well worth experimenting with.

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