On 8 February I attended the inaugural Poll Everywhere User Group meeting at Regent’s University. The group was set up by Matt.Lingard@uwl.ac.uk and Anna.Armstrong@uwl.ac.uk of the University of West London, “for educational users of Poll Everywhere in the UK…. primarily for staff in FE & HE”*. Matt had shown me Poll Everywhere when he worked at City, and I have been a regular user since, including in a project with City Law School which I co-presented at Learning at City 2015.
The meeting was attended by 41 people from over 20 institutions. There was a mix of educational technologists and academics, and we were joined by Dani Arami from Poll Everywhere who had travelled from San Francisco for the event. The day consisted of three presentations, group discussions on four themes suggested by attendees and a Q and A session with Dani.
The presentations provided interesting insights into the different uses and experiences of Poll Everywhere and other polling tools in other institutions. Contributions came from City’s Jorge Friere followed by Darren Gash, University of Surrey and Denis Guret from University of Liverpool.
The five themes discussed (in open-table format, where attendees could move when they wanted) were:
- Table 1: Ideas for staff engagement and promotion;
- Table 2: Ideas for use in teaching, and use of specific features;
- Table 3: Integration with VLEs – how does it work, what are the possibilities?;
- Table 4: Ideas and approaches for sustained student engagement
From both the table and open discussions, it was interesting to see that experiences and wish-lists had much in common across institutions. There was a general enthusiasm for sharing case studies amongst participants, and not just at the highlight level: there was a keenness to talk about mistakes and poor practice. Although much of the discussion had its roots in pedagogy, there was a good sprinkling of technical questioning and observation.
Dani Arami presented on what’s next for Poll Everywhere and said she would take back with her questions that she did not have the answers to (there were a few regarding institutional accounts).
It was a well organised and useful day for those that use polling systems for educational use – be it Poll Everywhere or other polling technologies – and for those considering the pedagogical merits of doing so.
* footnote – https://pollevusergroup.wordpress.com/about/