Professor John Boyer, a.k.a. The Plaid Avenger, is a Geography Professor at the University of Virginia Tech. He utilizes Poll Everywhere on a daily basis to get feedback from his students that shapes the course of his lectures. By allowing students to give input on what they want to learn mid-lecture, Professor Boyer can make sure his instruction is always relevant to student interests.
Professor Boyer uses Poll Everywhere because it allows him to interact with the students in his classes, even if they are attending remotely. Poll Everywhere is helping John expand his lectures and give access to more students than ever before, without losing out on individual attention.
Picking the lecture topics helps to make Professor Boyer’s class more interesting.
Rather than have a rigid curriculum that follows a strict path, Professor Boyer allows for flexibility in his topics and lectures. While preparing for several potential topics can take a bit longer, the end result is a class that is more engaged and involved in the material. It transforms his students from passive observers to active participants.
Allowing some, rather than complete, flexibility in his lectures helps ensure that the topics voted on by students and discussed in class will still fit with the core curriculum. Not only do his students like this, but it has made his job more interesting as he constantly gets to use new material, rather than the same lectures year after year.
Each lecture is a bit different because of the student polling, keeping the material fresh, year after year.
Professor Boyer only uses a couple of polls a day, but he uses them consistently throughout his course. Utilizing polls in this way ensures that students don’t develop ‘poll fatigue’ during individual lectures, but are comfortable using the software.
Professor Boyer sums it up this way, “Poll Everywhere is the perfect tool to facilitate student engagement in huge classes.”
How can you do this?
Think about all of the things you might like to discuss in any one lecture.
Start designing your lecture, and make sure you cover the essential material you have to cover. Then, when there are different directions the lecture could go, make a Multiple Choice Poll with all of the options.
Ask your students to vote on which option is the most interesting and lecture on that.