Spice up your classes with polls to get to know your students, encourage critical thinking, reinforce learning and much more.

1. Ask "Why does this matter?"

Helping students understand why a topic is being taught is central to giving them context and getting then to engage with the subject matter at a fundamental level. Try kicking off new topics with a Free Text Poll asking them "Why do you think we're studying this topic?"

Use the responses that appear on the screen to spark a discussion around why it matters. To drive the discussion, you may want to try the "5 Whys" technique to challenge student initial responses.

2. Break the Ice
Get to know your students and help them get to know each other. You can use this technique to have a bit of fun by asking a question like "What super power would you most like" but also to understand the make up of the class... "Is English your first language?", "How long is your commute each morning?" or "Why did you choose to study Behavioural Economics?". 

All these questions help you get to know your students and be more responsive to their needs. You can also use the data later to see if certain demographic information is impacting learning outcomes. For example, did students with longer commutes do better this semester (perhaps because they study on the bus) or worse (perhaps because they were tired by the time they get to class).

3. Understand the knowledge gap
A typical group of students have vastly different levels of knowledge and understanding on a given topic. A Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down poll asking a simple question like "Can you explain this topic to a 4 year old?" can give you an insight into whether students think they grasp the basics. A 5 Star Scale poll is an alternative approach that can give you more detail by asking students to rate their perceived knowledge across a number of dimensions. 

Next, to really know what students actually know (rather than what they think they know), ask a few Multiple Choice questions with varying difficulty to get a quick snapshot of where students are at.

4. Fun quizzes to test and reinforce knowledge
Were they really listening? Did they get it? Waiting until test time to identify if students understand the material doesn't give you the opportunity to help. Also, if a student has a misconception about an aspect of the course, the sooner you correct it the better. 

Break lessons up with short quizzes on the material just covered as a method of reinforcement and to see if the class is really ready to move on. 

5. Encourage critical thinking
Before launching into a topic, poll students on it so they're forced to think before consuming the content. As you deliver the content, students will then be able to assess whether they were right or wrong allowing them to identify which topics they need to focus on most.

6. The Great debate
Pick a group of students to participate in a debate on a topic. Before the debate kicks off, use a Multiple Choice poll to ask the rest of the class if they're "For, Against or Undecided". 

After the debate, ask the same question again to see which debating team were most effective in swaying the class.

7. Key takeaway
Get students to reflect on what they learned at the end of the lesson by asking them to share their key take-away. You can do this with a Free Text poll to see the range of ideas or as a Multiple Choice poll to understand what specific area stood out most. 

If you take the multiple choice approach, try be a little sneaky and throw in something you didn't cover or something entirely false. Call it out if any students vote for that option - always good to keep them on their toes!

8. Evaluate your lecture
Get instant feedback on your lecture so you know what students loved and which areas need to be improved. For evaluations, take advantage of the "Keep responses private" setting available on all Zeetings polls to keep the feedback to yourself. We suggest using a 5 Star Scale poll with categories such as Content, Delivery, Clarity and Pace to get a holistic view of your performance.

We'd love to feature your ideas for polling your students. Share your best ideas with us by emailing [email protected]

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