As I have mentioned in the past, Poll Everywhere has always been a great classroom motivator since it allows teachers to elicit 100% student response using something students love, their cell phones. But is it just shtick or a genuine educational tool? I have had this debate with a respected colleague of mine who has argued that Poll Everywhere, while a nice tool, is really just "smoke and mirrors" and not real education, since one could get the same type of student response by requiring every kid to write down an answer to your question on a piece of paper and collecting them like Nechama Leibowitz used to do in her classes.
Recently, I have been experimenting with a new application of this tool which I believe is genuine since it cannot easily be replicated ANY OTHER WAY. I have been using Poll Everywhere for Exit Tickets. An exit ticket is a brief assessment that every student has to fill out before leaving class to indicate their understanding of the lesson. You can read a nice description of Exit Tickets here.
I started to utilize Exit Tickets in my lessons after discovering on a recent exam that students did much better on the translations and multiple choice which required simple understanding than they did on the essays in which a deeper understanding of the lesson was necessary. As a response to this, I needed a method of assuring that every student understood the "big idea" of each lesson on a daily basis. Enter the Exit Ticket.
However, the problem with Exit Tickets is that to be most effective, the teacher must give immediate feedback so students know they properly understood the material. When using the pen and paper approach, this would require a lot of grading on a daily basis and students still might not see a model of the correct answer. This is where Poll Everywhere can be such an effective tool. When students fill out their Exit Tickets using texting on their cell phone via Poll Everywhere, there are no papers to grade and students immediately see the answers projected on the board. The teacher can then point out which answers are correct and even bring up the poll again at the beginning of the following lesson as a review of the previous day's material.
So far, I am using Poll Everywhere to create very simple Exit Tickets. At the end of each classroom period, I ask the students the same question, "What was the big idea of today's lesson?". You can see one example of such a poll below. I welcome other more creative questions for Exit Tickets using Poll Everywhere. Please add your own through the comments section below.