qp.unimelb – The QuickPoll Tool for In-class Polling

Some background

The ways in which active polling tools, such as Turning Technologies® ‘clickers’, or dialup polls such as Votapedia®, can be used in learning and teaching are well established. QuickPoll is a tool that makes use of the internet capable devices that an increasing proportion of our students and staff carry with them daily to class – iPhones or other smart phones, laptops or netbook computers.

QuickPoll is exceptionally simple for staff and students to set up and use. It can be used in classes of all sizes, in spaces where UniWireless or 3G communication is available. A guide to setting up UniWireless is available at http://www.its.unimelb.edu.au/support/networks/wireless/uniwireless.

The objective of the QuickPoll project was to develop a simple tool that enabled staff to obtain and use class responses to questions as part of their teaching - and to engage their students in that process. The question choices might be presented in a PowerPoint slide or a prepared handout in a lecture or class, or spontaneously as part of an active discussion in class because qp.unimelb itself does not require any question text. The question might be used to gauge students’ background or opinion on a topic that is about to be developed, or in a short test or reflection on a topic just completed in class.

Data submitted to any QuickPoll is anonymous. The poll is a statistical picture of the class response. You can use it to guide your further discussion in class. Using the document camera to display your phone screen or using the classroom computer and projector, you might share the result with the class so they can see their own choice as part of the class response.

For many purposes, 100% coverage of the class is not essential. Asking students to discuss their responses and submit a vote each on a shared phone can be a useful technique to encourage discussion in class. It is probably useful to remind students that using UniWireless incurs no charge to them. If the 3G network is used, depending on the user’s data plan, the amount of 3G data per poll is a few kb, costing probably ~0.01 cents per poll.

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