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Published November 16, 2016 | Psychology

Reviewing for the Exam…and Having Fun!

In collaboration with Mathieu Cyr, Teaching Intern at the Cégep de Lévis-Lauzon and Postgraduate student at the Université Laval.

The Poll Everywhere tool is very useful in many aspects of my teaching. It's a free on-line tool that allows you to create questionnaires that students can answer in real time with a cell phone, computer or tablet.

The Poll Everywhere web site.

Student Cell Phones: Problem or Tool in Disguise?

For many teachers, the use of a cell phone in class is a problem since they feel that it detracts from teaching and student learning. For others it can be a means of fighting student indifference and isolation. When it comes to making course reviews more interactive and interesting for students, the use of a platform like Poll Everywhere helps me to ensure that there is an adequate review of the material we have seen in class leading up to exams.

What's the Tool Like?

Poll Everywhere is a tool that allows me to build questionnaires, surveys and essay questions for my students. Everything happens in real time. Students have the ability to answer directly using their cell phone, tablet or computer.

I find the tool user-friendly and very useful for reviewing material that we have seen in class. Poll Everywhere also allows me to:

  • Review the material and evaluate whether objectives have been met
  • Evaluate the level to which the knowledge has been assimilated (for me and my students)
  • Vary the teaching strategies and enjoy the class
  • Make students more active in their learning
  • Respond to the interests of my students
  • Sensitize students on the responsible use of cell phones (the idea is to integrate the tool, rather than prohibit its use)
  • Involve the quiet students that are too shy to ask questions and participate.

3 Easy Steps to Creating a Questionnaire with Poll Everywhere

  1. Once you have created an account, click on “Create Polland enter the questions that you want to submit to your students.

    You should choose the type of questionnaire from the available choices (multiple choice, essay, etc.) and the number of questions you want to create beforehand.

  2. You will then receive a hyperlink where students will be able to respond to your questionnaire with their cell phone, computer or tablet.

    Hyperlink that leads to the questionnaire.

  3. You will then be able to see the answers of the students in real time on your questionnaire through your Poll Everywhere account.

    Viewing student responses.

The Educational Impact

The use of Poll Everywhere is relevant in any class regardless of the subject. It’s a strategy that is aligned with active learning classroom pedagogies. The only requirement is that the students own a mobile device, whether it be a cell phone, tablet or computer. In cases where students do not have any of this equipment, they can pair up and the educational activity can be just as valuable.

The tool places the student at the centre of their learning. What's more, the pedagogical impact is substantial and real. As Pascaline Minet demonstrates in a dossier from La Recherche, the discoveries from the cognitive sciences have demonstrated the efficiency of educational software and multi-sensorial experiences to promote learning.

The more that our teaching challenges the senses, the better the chances the material will be assimilated. In addition to catering to the interests of the students, there is a very positive effect on the student-teacher relationship.

One student even came to see me to receive an explanation of the how the tool works, as he was hoping to integrate it into his oral presentation. The fact that we are having fun with tools like this in class allows for positive connections to be created between the students and the teacher.

Positive and Negative Aspects of the Tool
Positive Aspects Negative Aspects
  • Very efficient and user-friendly
  • Creative and fun
  • Makes the student active and places them at the centre of their learning
  • Uses a technology that students like
  • Promotes a positive relationship between students and the teach
  • Sensitizes students to the responsible use of cell phone
  • Requires some getting used to in the beginning, preparing surveys therefore take more time
  • Some recurring technical issues (prepare a plan B and plan C)
  • Only available in English (Editor's note: Might not be appropriate for French as a Second Language Courses)

The Student Response

Judging from the feedback I have received from my students, they appreciate the tool because it is fun to use, but they also find it relevant for reviewing material that has been covered in class. They also enjoy using their cell phone during the class. Despite this, they noted some recurring technical issues, mainly related to the interaction between the app and their device. They also observed differences between the interface of the tool depending on which operating system and device were used.

In conclusion, I would like to say that it is very important to maintain a good balance between using new technologies in teaching and using the “old-fashioned ways.” Once a tool is well- integrated, you need to ensure that you have mastered it. It's important that the learning intentions for the course guide us towards the right tools and the right applications. Personally, I prefer to put students at the centre of the learning.

About the Author

Andrée Roussel has taught at Cégep de Lévis-Lauzon for over 8 years, where she teaches the course Psychologie du développement (Developmental Psychology) and Initiation à la psychologie (Introduction to Psychology), as well as some communication courses. She has a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology and a certificate in Addiction Studies. She has had the opportunity to hold many positions outside of teaching, including mandates as an employment counsellor and special care counsellor. She recently began working on a postgraduate diploma in college teaching. What is the main thing that keeps her motivated? The possibility to continuously learn and share knowledge with others.

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