Getting feedback from your students can serve multiple purposes: it can help you understand your students’ comprehension of the material, it can give you insight into what teaching methods work or don’t work, and it can help engage students in their learning process by knowing they have a voice that is heard. Not only can feedback offer insight for both teachers and students, it can be an integral part of group work and classroom time, given the plethora of connected devices in the hands of our students these days.
That said, there are a lot of classroom tools available for gathering feedback. You can poll students or have them create a survey for a project, use clickers and other classroom response type tools in real time, get feedback on teaching methods, and more. But which tools are best? We’ve collected a few of our favorites and listed them below, along with some of the activities they’re best for.
The best classroom tools for gathering feedback
Sometimes, a particular tool ends up being awesome for a slightly different purpose than it was originally designed for. Twitter definitely falls into this category for classroom polling. You can create a unique hashtag for students to use in their tweets on specific topics you’re covering in class, and students can snapshot the feed for that hashtag to see all of the responses together.
Socrative is one of the most well known (and widely used) student response systems, and for good reason. It is a really robust tool, and free to boot. Users can create questions in various formats (like a quiz, a simple quick question, a space race game, or an exit ticket). You’ll get answers in real time, and the interface is easy to use for both teachers and students.
Verso is an app designed for flipped classrooms that allows teachers to distribute flipped classroom lessons and then gather feedback on those lessons from the students. Verso is free, and integrates easily with Google Drive for easy information uploads/downloads. Teachers can add prompts for each question, require multiple answers, etc, making it a fairly robust system, especially given the price – $0!
Plickers is a great option if you don’t have a classroom full of devices. Nik Chatzopoulos gives a great description of how Plickers can work in a one iPad classroom in one of his previous posts along with a video tutorial here. Plickers uses cards with QR codes (which can be used for multiple classes, as long as they’re not happening at the same time) instead of individual devices.
Doodle is a simple online system that is designed to make finding a mutually convenient meeting time simpler, but it can also be put to use in classrooms. You could actually use it to schedule something – a field trip, for example – or you can use it as a polling tool by entering free text in the question boxes. Doodle is free to use, but to gain access to some of the premium features (ex: premium offers tracking of whose responses are missing, which could be useful for classrooms), you’ll dish out $39/year. They do advertise 50% off for “education pricing”, if you contact the company directly. One of the advantages to using Doodle is that you don’t have to sign up for an account to use it, nor do your poll-ees. It does require an email address (as an identifier), but your students won’t be signing up for any additional accounts if you choose to use this tool.
Polldaddy is a pretty robust web-based polling tool that gives you a lot of options for customization. The free option does limit how many folks you can send the polls to via email per month (1,000), includes polldaddy branding, and doesn’t offer you the custom URL for your polls that the paid options do (from $200/year). Of note, that email limit is just that – for email. If you give your students a direct link to the poll, you can poll as many times and as many students as you like. Given that, the free option should work just fine for most teachers and classrooms.
Poll Everywhere is an SMS/Text based polling service, which will work particularly well for you if you have a 1:1 classroom or just a classroom full of kids with phones. (Obvious disclaimer: please be sure texting is ok with parents, etc etc etc.) The service offers a K-12 version with highly discounted pricing and the integration of classroom utilities like attendance and advanced reporting as well as a higher education plan geared towards larger classes.
Well, it wouldn’t be a 2014 discussion of edtech if we didn’t discuss a Google tool in this list, right? Especially for those who already use other Google tools in their classrooms, Google Forms (as a part of Drive) allows users to create polls (including many different types of questions), integrate pretty pre-formatted themes, and distribute the form via email or URL. As with the rest of Google tools, it is free and easy to use.
Infuse Learning is a free student response system that works with any device. It allows teachers to create quizzes, questions, prompts, and more, and push them out to students in the classroom. The questions can be asked verbally in the classroom, or sent via the platform. Students can respond in a large number of formats such as short answer, fill in the blank, multiple choice, true/false, or even draw an answer.
Kahoot is a web tool that delivers online quizzes and surveys to your students. Teachers can use a simple drag and drop method to create quizzes/polls/surveys, and push them out to student devices (alternatively, the teacher can ask the questions verbally or show them on the board and students can still respond using the platform). In this platform, teachers can encourage students to ask their own questions and have other students answer as well, making it one of the more interactive options listed here (many are just teacher-student). Kahoot is free, and works on any connected device.