Thursday, February 23, 2012

Day 23 -- Poll Everywhere

Today’s guest blogger is David Dimmett. David is Senior Vice President and Chief Communications Officer for Project Lead The Way. He is also a former high school English teacher and school and district administrator. You can find David on Twitter @ddimmett.

Our Web 2.0 resource of the day is Poll Everywhere.

For generations, families counted on school to turn students on to learning while connecting them to the world around them. As technology has improved and connectivity has increased, schools have been challenged in unprecedented ways. In 2010, it was suggested that 75% of teens have cell phones. More recent data notes that nearly 104% of the US population has cell phones, meaning that in some cases, Americans have multiple phones.

The increased number of cell phones has created challenges for many teachers and schools. How do we keep students on task and focused on the content with so much connectivity to others and the outside world? In some cases, this has resulted in punitive measures established to limit cell phone usage and the power of these mobile devices.

Many teachers realize the positive uses for cell phones, and in some cases, the technology in students’ pockets and backpacks creates unique learning opportunities. One positive use for cell phones in the classroom is through Poll Everywhere. Poll Everywhere is a tool for capturing responses to questions through cell phone or internet inputs. It is an effective way to keep students interested, gather real-time data, and demonstrate positive uses for newer technologies in the classroom.

There are numerous videos on how to use Poll Everywhere in the classroom. A couple are noted below. video tutorial

DiscoveryEducation video tutorial

The Challenge

Create a Poll Everywhere account and use a poll in one of your next lessons or presentations. Students or audience members can input their responses via cell phones or any device connected to the internet.

Additionally, as your school and community have conversations regarding policies to limit cell phones or other tools, try to think of the non-punitive uses of these devices and how we can demonstrate for students and others responsible digital citizenry. The “distractions” of technology are a reality for all of us. The more we model effective use and best practices, the better prepared we will be for the next generation of technological advances.

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