What are my students thinking? Ask!

We’ve been meeting monthly to discuss usingĀ  mobile devices in teaching. Several faculty have been interested in trying Poll Everywhere, which uses the students’ phones or computers as clickers to answer poll questions during class. Faculty expressed several concerns about asking students to pull out temptations like phones and computers in class:

  • students may be distracted by technology,
  • students may not have a text message plan, and
  • if students do not have the capability of using either the internet or cell phones to respond, they will be left out.

Participants brainstormed an answer:

Ask students to work on questions in small groups during class, with one person assigned per group to use the device to answer for the group.


  • One student assigned to be the reporter will be responsible to the group for staying on task.
  • Groups would include at least one participant who is willing to text from their phone or respond in another way.
  • Small groups should be able to address more advanced questions.
  • Small group work combined with polling will work with any size class, particularly large classes.
  • Peer instruction in small groups provides the opportunity for increased student learning.
  • Poll Everywhere is free for fewer than 30 responses per poll.

If you are interested in more ideas for using student devices to increase learning, or would like to discuss this idea, join us. We meet on the second Tuesday of each month, starting in February. Register and receive a reminder before the meeting.