"Poll Everywhere should be organically integrated into your teaching objectives, rather than feeling like an add-on."
Pablo Yañez, Program Manager at the Studio for Teaching and Learning Innovation (STLI) at William & Mary, has introduced Poll Everywhere as a way to engage students across the campus. “We transitioned from the pre-pilot to the pilot to full adoption very quickly. It was very clear that Poll Everywhere was going to have legs and our usage took off.”
Building technology into the curriculum
Over his twenty years at the university, Pablo has been working with faculty members on incorporating technology into their labs and classrooms. “We’re focusing much more on the pedagogy of teaching and learning rather than the tools themselves. When a faculty member asks about a specific tool, our team will try to challenge the discussion and ask about their learning objectives and desired outcomes so that we can provide the best solution.”
Before rolling out the Poll Everywhere pilot three years ago, Pablo found that there was a wide variety of tools faculty members used in their classes — from physical clickers to different digital response systems. “We wanted to consolidate everything, so we went through a review process of all of the digital, non-physical clicker platforms out there and found that Poll Everywhere provided the best fit.”
Since then, the studio has been running larger trainings and workshops every semester and providing individual support as well.
"Our one-on-one consults happen much more frequently on an unscheduled basis. My colleagues and I are constantly getting calls from faculty members who are looking to integrate Poll Everywhere within their classes, meetings, or presentations."
Adapting to a virtual environment
The transition to distance learning brought many new challenges, so Pablo and the team developed specific programming to support faculty. “Once it became clear that the summer and fall semesters were going to happen largely remotely, we ran a three-week course on teaching in a blended learning environment. It was mainly self-guided with some synchronous online sessions too. This wasn’t required but all of our faculty members were invited to enroll, and a good chunk of them did. Because we had run surveys in advance, we knew that we were having a very heterogeneous set of people in terms of how comfortable they were with teaching online and how much progress they had been able to make in converting their classes from a traditional face-to-face environment to a blended model.”
These live, synchronous sessions ranged from thirty to about a hundred and fifty faculty members, so Pablo needed a way to hear from everyone. “I created a clickable image activity of a chart with the X axis being ‘progress designing the course’ and the Y axis being ‘confidence level’, and I asked attendees to place themselves on the grid. Responses were set to anonymous because we thought some faculty members might be shy about revealing their confidence and progress levels to us.
Poll Everywhere for universities
Give any audience a voice in the conversation.