Apropos apps – and other cool technology

I have to admit that I’m a latecomer to the world of apps.  I heard “there’s an app for that” long before I had a smart phone or used an app.  All I knew for sure was that no one seemed to have an app for laundry, dishes, or floors.  As far as I know, that is still the case.

Once I became excited about the intersection of technology and teaching, however, finding technology I can use in the classroom (with ease, which is my first requirement) became a lot more fun.  There are several on my list to try.

Last week I used Poll Everywhere in my class of 18 graduate students.  The software is similar to the clickers used in large classrooms.  Students can respond to questions (voting, essentially) using Twitter, text, or online options, which the poll creator can determine and change.  Poll Everywhere also allows short, anonymous answers to open-ended questions, such as “what did you like best about the video assigned for homework?”  I really like the ability to ask both types of questions.

You can get a quick overview of how Poll Everywhere works by visiting their easy-to-use and well-written website.  It really does take mere minutes to be up and running with your own poll.  Then it’s time to think about whether or how polling will help with the objectives for your course or meeting.

My foray into Poll Everywhere went well.  The questions were easy to set up, the students had no problems using texts or Tweets, and the instant feedback was both useful and fun.  For educators with audience sizes of less than 40, Poll Everywhere is free.

If you’ve used Poll Everywhere, what did you think?  What other apps are you using in the classroom?

Some of the other apps on my To-Try list:

TodaysMeet.  I may be one of the last 12 people on campus to join the ranks of Twitter.  This is, essentially, an alternative for those of us who are interested in the use of Twitter in class, but who prefer more privacy and/or control than use of hashtags allows.

Genuis Scan from The Grizzly Labs.  It’s like having a scanner in your pocket, allowing documents to be scanned, searched, stored, shared, etc.

And one of Javier’s favorites:

Prezi.  If you enjoy the art and craft of telling story, Prezi may be for you.  Think of it as a really large white board where you can add photographs, video, text, or any combination.  There are templates to get you started and some amazing examples (including Social Media 101 and The Winner of Superbowl XLVII ).

2 Comments

  1. Dewey Hemphill says:

    I just tried Poll Everywhere and like the potential I see in it. I am already thinking about how to incorporate several polls into my online Operations Management courses this fall.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Dewey

  2. Linda Jones says:

    Hi Javier,

    I looked at Prezi last night, after seeing your presentation at Faculty Senate. It’s pretty darn cool but…pricey, comparatively speaking to PowerPoint. Any chance we might get a campus license or a Global Campus license for this tool???

    Linda

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