Educational Technology Tools

During my short time as a teacher I have implemented Poll Everywhere.com for a few of my lessons in different units of study. I found that Poll Everywhere directly engages students right at the beginning of my lessons, because it requires them to use their cell phones. This particular online technology tool allows educators to create various types of starter, processing, or closing for students to think about a provide a response via their cell phones. All students have to do is text a particular code to a specific six or seven digit sequence and participate in the Poll question(s) teachers provide to them.

Poll Everywhere allows educators to create multiple choice responses, wall text responses, cloud based responses, and even short answer responses via cell phones. All of the responses that students send into the given code are anonymous, so students do not feel pressured or embarrassed for their response. Poll Everywhere is a great tool to use during any part of a given lesson: whether it is before giving a lecture about some specific content, periodically during a lecture, or even at the end of class as a form of class-wide formative assessment.

As mentioned earlier, I have used Poll Everywhere in my classroom a couple of times. I primarily use it as an introductory to the day’s lesson. Because I teach history, the multiple choice questions I create are more modern-day impacting questions that students are familiar with. I recently taught a lesson about the Spanish-American War and how “yellow journalists,” such as Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst, wrote sensational stories about the Spain to stir war fever among the nation and to acquire money. Before I even talked about the war or “yellow journalism” I had students text in their responses to about five questions relating to modern day media. All of the answer choices were either ‘yes’,’ no’, or ‘to an extent.’ Some of the questions included: Should the federal government regulate the media? Should the government restrict where reporters can go and see? Are news stations reliable? Does the media affect government legislation?

My students greatly discussed each question with each other and provided insightful responses for the class to respond to. With the use of Poll Everywhere, we were able to analyze the quantitative results of the three answer choices to determine what students thought about the media. As a result, the class was more focused and alert in learning about American imperialism and the Spanish-American War. I could visually see that students comprehended the material better, because I opened up the lesson with a well-thought introductory activity using Poll Everywhere. I will definitely be using Poll Everywhere again for my classes (especially to connect historical phenomenon to present-day phenomenon).

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