Whenever I find something that I think of as “offensively unnecessary,” I usually think of a vignette from the old Humphrey Bogart movie, “Treasure of the Sierra Madre“. At some point in the movie Bogart’s character and his prospecting friends come face to face with a band of cut-throat thieves. Bogart boldly asks this scruffy hoard, who have said they were Federales (the Law) , to identify themselves by asking them to, “show me your badges”. Caught off guard the leader of the band repeats the word, “badges”… and then as a question, “badges?”… and then finally having processed the request, the Bandolero replies, “We don’t need no stinking badges,” at which point all pull out their guns and start firing. All that to explain the meaning of this blog title. I don’t think you need to purchase a specialty item like clickers when there are so many mobile devices that can be used to record student responses, in real-time, and normally for free.
I will develop this posting in more detail later, but the gist of it is this: Why buy a clicker system, when there are various, free ways of polling your audience (students), using devices they already have access to?
Socrative is a great online app for easily polling your students. This app works well both for the instructor who is creating polls, and for the students who are sending their responses. The service is free. As an instructor you sign up with your email address and a password. You are assigned a “Room Number”. You direct your students to go to m.socrative.com , and enter your room number and click then “Join” button.
The Socrative interface, both for the teachers and students, is very simple. I have found it is easy to login to the teacher interface at t.socrative.com using my Android smart phone’s, iPad’s, Chromebook’s, PC’s web browser and push out polling items.
It is easy to create a poll (PollDaddy) using the WordPress menu. Just click on the “Add Poll” button from the WP Dashboard and follow the steps to create a new poll. From this interface you can change the look of your poll, if that is important to you.
Below is an example poll created from the WP Dashboard:
You can also create polls easily by typing some simple coding in an email and posting to your WP site via email.
Paste the following code into the body of an email and “Post via Email” to your WP site to create a simple poll:
Replace the word “Question” above with your poll question. Then replace “Answer+1” with your first poll answer, “Answer+2” with the next choice, and so on. Each possible answer begins with an asterisk “*”.
If your students have access to PCs, iPads, Chromebooks, tablets, or smart phones, they already have all the devices (sans special clickers) necessary to view and respond to your polls, both during class and asynchronously (at a later time).