This week I experimented with the website http://polleverywhere.com. At this site you can create a free response, or multiple choice question and allow people to respond to it via text message, Twitter, or through their web browser.
WHAT WORKED WELL
I was able to create my first poll in around 2 minutes. I quickly learned how to make column graphs and change appearance using the peel back tab at lower left. Votes appeared in seconds from Twitter, text message and the web page http://4poll.com. I tried to cheat using both texting and the web response page by sending multiple responses and was stopped.
I could work around the fact that the polls are text only using the Power Point download feature that Poll Everywhere provides. I created a generic poll, “Please send your response,” with choices A, B, C and D and downloaded the Power Point version. I then took a screen capture of a multiple choice question in Word with math symbols and arranged the image and the poll on the Power Point slide.
Students need a smartphone, or unlimited text messaging to respond to questions. So in the classroom this is best for group activities or when having most of the class respond is enough.
The price seems at this time to be about 10 times what it would need to be to attract educational users. Accounts that allow more than 30 people to respond to questions start at $15/month. The lowest priced plan that allows you to replace arbitrary 5 digit codes with words, or letters to respond to the questions begin at $65/month. After a year at that price you could have equipped a classroom with clickers.
It may be that the company sends so much data through cell phone providers that the high price for upgrades is unavoidable. In the meantime I think I will use the free version (as long as it is free) rather than purchase clickers.
And if folks from poll everywhere stumble across this website they could probably get $30, or $50 a year from me and others for the keyword feature so students do not need to text the 5-digit codes.