Monday, 10 March 2014

Innovations in learning - my take on Poll Everywhere

I didn't have time to collaborate with the group about Poll Everywhere, so I have conducted my own quick resume reagrding this tool.

Loosely based on Price and Kirkwood.....
Poll Everywhere

Increasing flexibility/access/reach
Certainly this reaches out to students across the globe, particularly if I were running a synchronous webinar. Language capability is useful and accessible through different devices too. Within my own context during f2f sessions, given that my numbers are usually no more than 12 participants I could see this possibly being more trouble than beneficial.
Increasing engagement
Again it raises the participation bar, particularly when large groups are involved. Does require use of ppt in presentations.
Given that in my context participants can’t really hide and it is obvious if they are not participating poll anywhere would not be of much value.
Improving feedback
 Not sure this would be much more valuable than ‘happy sheets’ feedback…although obviously for larger numbers it gives contemporaneous feedback which is often hard to gauge during a webinar or lecture.
A useful tool for meta planning at the beginning of the session to identify personal goals.
Would it add to a good teacher’s toolbox in an average sized classroom I would not necessarily concur.
Developing skills
 Skills to take part in polls would be advanced. Perhaps skills in analysing data.
Reinforcement or revision
 Yes, as far as multiple choice allow.
When running a two day+ programme, it would be a good way to remind participants about previous days learning, or at end of the day a similar reinforcement.
Improving assessment and feedback
 Being so narrow in terms of opportunities to offer information I am not sure that this tool would enhance feedback. The ‘closed’ feedback would be based upon the teacher/lecturer’s point of view. If ‘open feedback’ is enabled, not sure about its practical use in a time limited session. Perhaps would help facilitator/trainer if running a programme over a period of time.
Much of my training focuses on skills development – Poll Everywhere seems to be more aligned with knowledge absorption (knowledge as a commodity) rather than a learning process.
Poll Everywhere would probably inject a fun element to the learning and must be treated with a light touch in terms of depth of feedback and opportunities for assessment.
Personal development
 Guess this would be down to the types of questions. Perhaps learning about group dynamics
 Interaction is high, but potentially at a very low skill level. Presumably there is an assumption here about literacy levels. Participants with dyslexia, vision or mobility issues might not fare so well with this tool.
Cost/value for money
Obviously for less than 40 participants it is of high value – being free. If using company devices then there would be no cost to participants. Private phones, tablets etc would cost according to personal call plans.
Technology effectiveness
 It is effective in providing an opportunity to gain an overview of participants’ responses
Are improvements necessary? 
 This is really dependent upon learning goals, facilitators’ needs and learners’ needs.
Fast, quick hit, easy to implement, easy to share,
Might not add a great deal to overall learning. Feels a little gimmicky. May not be available in onsite in-house training programmes due to rules regarding external websites and bringing in mobile phones (Defence sites, aeronautics and industries that are sensitive about potential industrial espionage).

Most of the research available focuses on mandatory and HE learners, no convincing information re: work-based training.

Price, Linda and Kirkwood, Adrian (2011). Enhancing professional learning and teaching through technology:
a synthesis of evidence-based practice among teachers in higher education. Higher Education
Academy, York, UK.

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