Yesterday I arrived home from an excellent outdoor & environmental studies camp in which I took my 19 year 11 students to the snow fields of Mt Buller. While relaxing on the bus after a very busy and tiring trip an idea popped into my head that immediately made me want to turn back the clock on the camp and trial it out.
The idea is simple and utilises the incredibly powerful website www.polleverywhere.com. For those of you not familiar with this service, basically it lets you create polls that can be responded via not only a computer connected to the internet, but also via a cell phone. After signing up for free account you can choose to create a ‘free text poll’ which basically lets you send in text via SMS to a unique phone number disclosed when you create the poll. The responses are then updated in real time and displayed in a PowerPoint slideshow or on the polleverywhere website.
So why polleverywhere on a field trip or camp? Well by using the ‘free text’ option you could ask students any sort of questions while away that would require them to respond via SMS. The students would simply submit their answers by sending a text message to the unique poll everywhere number. It could also be used as a sort of back channel during trips, that the students could use if they wanted to ask a question that could be followed up when the class returned to school. This would encourage them to think about and decode the information they were coming across during the excursion. The benefits of using this method within a large classroom would be that it would automatically collate the students responses in a way that could be easily shared and discussed in future lessons.