At our last school day seminar, Kara introduced two survey websites that offer free limited accounts, Polldaddy and Survey Monkey. She mentioned in her presentation that she had used it in her class and found it quite adaptable to the classroom. As I was listening to her presentation, I was struggling with a scheduling conflict at school the next day. My dilemma was that I was scheduled for the computer room for the following three days with all my classes, but my honors classes had not presented their previously assigned group posters. Although one hates to give-up valuable and scarce computer room time in out school, but the question kept going through my head, “What good is a group poster project if the groups can’t present their posters to the class”. Suddenly an idea came to me. I could have my classes present their posters in the computer room and I could use Polldaddy.com for student responses. If these survey sites were truly easy and intuitive I could set-up a free account, create a survey, and have available to my students by the next morning. I must admit, this was quite a lofty goal to achieve with no experience and less than 24 hours to accomplish. Well, the lesson went off without a hitch as Polldaddy.com proved to be as easy to use as I had hoped.
My first step was to open a free account at http://polldaddy.com/signup-free/ . Once completed I found that I could choose from three types of “polls”; polls, surveys and quizzes. I chose to create a survey as this format would allow me to create nine multiple choice questions with one space for the students’ name. The template that Polldaddy offered was a simple, multiple choice question with the possible responses to be the typical a,b,c…etc. So, I created nine questions that I wanted each student to respond to after they viewed each poster presentation. Since the presentations were in groups, I only had seven groups per class that needed to be surveyed. Fortunately, Polldaddy allows you to duplicate your surveys, so once I created a survey that I liked, I just duplicated it seven times for each class and called each one “Group A”, “Group B” and the like.
The next step was getting it to the students. Fortunately, I have a Wikispaces web page that I created from a previous school-day seminar that I could use to post my surveys for the students. Polldaddy walks you through cutting and pasting the “code” that you could paste as a “widget” on your site. If you click on the following link, you will be able to see the page my students saw as they watch the groups present their posters: http://dehushistory.wikispaces.com/Poster+Poll. From that page, you can click on a survey and see the very simple survey that I created the night before the presentations.
After the class presentations were made and the students responded to each presentation, I logged on to my Polldaddy account and cut and pasted their poll results to a folder on the computer network that all the students could accesses. This way, each group could go view how their classmates rated each of their presentations. Please note, that as I have only a free account, I can’t access sophisticated statistical information, but I didn’t need it. Here is what the students could see on their computers by just saving the results and pasting them on an accessible folder: http://dehushistory.wikispaces.com/file/view/%27Group+H%27+Reports+Polldaddy_com.mht. After I cut and pasted the groups’ results and posted them for them to see, I cleared the data from each group survey so that it would be ready for the next class.
Needles to say, my students love this new electronic method of interacting with class presentations. As an audience they were attentive, and seemed to enjoy critiquing while they were listening.