PollEverywhere User Conference

Posted on: 6 June 2019 by Will Moindrot in Conference & Event Reports

Cave Painting
Cave Painting

Will Moindrot helped to bring the annual PollEverywhere user conference to Liverpool, and this is his reflection of the day.

What is the event?

This was a one-day Poll Everywhere user conference, held here at the University of Liverpool.

PollEverywhere is a student polling or response system, typically used in face-to-face teaching to facilitate interaction and active learning (similar to Kahoot, Mentimeter, TurningPoint, Socrative and other platforms). A number of University of Liverpool schools have paid licenses for this software, so I thought it would be useful for me to infiltrate the event's organising committee and work to getting the conference held here in Liverpool. The group has met for a number of years, but this was the first time North of Watford and a great opportunity to show off Liverpool!

Around 50 attendees came from other UK and international institutions. Recordings of the day can be accessed here: Presentations From 2019 User Group Event.

An overview of the day:

The venue was the G-Flex flexible learning space in our fantastic and unique Central Teaching Laboratory. Prior to the day I met with Dr Helen Vaughan (lecture in the CTL) to get an overview of this unique facility, and I was able to weave this into a welcome talk. For example, a non-discipline owned facility, thereby encouraging different cohorts of staff and students sharing the same spaces, or learning not only from the skills but also the living and human element: students coming together in the stone knapping lab, carrying out a shared task, but also learning from what it meant to those people in our past who were able to come together to share stories and aspirations (very much aligned with the purpose of the day).

On to a number of presentations from users followed by Q&A:

Rosamund Watling (Regent's University London) presenting on using open-ended questions to empower and enable students. A really interesting talk and hopefully food for users of polling technology who might not have considered this capacity of use. So it was about moving beyond MCQ to question types where students can give free-text responses, and those fed into a 'leaderboard' or wordcloud type chart from which the group can discuss and use in teaching and learning. Rosamund has found this useful is in getting her psychology students to open up (as it is anonymous) about experiences they are finding on the course and the process of becoming experts in their field, allowing learners to put forward the words and expressions that hold meaning, and finding out that their experience and thoughts are not odd or strange: The question below from Rosamund's presentation saw Rosamund asking us what the most awkward moment we have experienced in our teaching, no prize for guessing the biggest cause of embarrassment! She regularly gives over 20 minutes of lectures to go over Q&A with her students in this way. See Further Resources below for a recent article by Rosamund.

Poll Everywhere - Psychology

PollEverywhere - Psychology

Gustavo Espinoza-Ramos (Visiting Lecturer, Westminster Business School, University of Westminster) delivered a presentation on using Poll Everywhere to help move teaching and learning from transmissive to connectivist models. So posing questions that get students thinking and working together such as 'Think-Pair-Share'.

Agnes Grondin (Middlesex University London, Senior Lecturer in Accounting) presented on how she uses PollEverywhere to reinvigorate revision lectures.

Our own Dr Pete Smith (School of Dentistry, University of Liverpool) presented on 'closing the loop', giving an overview of how his team use PollEverywhere to provide students with personalised feedback from Problem Based Learning sessions. He provided a detailed overview of how he makes use of CSV's of results from PollEverywhere, and a 'MailMerge' type procedure to generate and email personalised feedback reports.

In the afternoon there was a product roadmap from Brian Goodman visiting from PollEverywhere in the States. Features we liked included: impactful competition slides; sharing sets of polling questions and results in teams (think Just In Time feedback); remote presentation controls from iPad/Android app; improved accessibility; and new forms of interactivity.

A 'World Cafe' style event in the afternoon with crowd-sourced discussion topics gave everyone the chance to discuss and get ideas from other attendees important to them. And finally a campus tour led by yours truly.

What did you get out of the conference?

The conference presented an opportunity for me to increase my familiarity with the software, and gave use cases from a cross-section of disciplines. I found those presentations that talked about modes of use and pedagogy rather than PollEverywhere specific features most useful; good ideas transcend specific platform or technology. The tool is the tool, but how people use it, the intelligence and processes that surround it, is where the creativity is at, whether it's a flint axe or a more recent piece of educational technology. I feel that I also gained useful experience from having helped to organise the event and welcome people to Liverpool, and forging new links to external partners.

Final thoughts:

It was great to get this event taking place here, it will help us in our relationship with PollEverywhere (watch this space for institutional license for a polling solution), great to invite all of this talent and ideas to Liverpool and give us an opportunity to showcase the best this great university and city has to offer.

Further Resources:

Training events by CIE including a Polling workshop.

PollEverywhere User Group (with recordings from the day).

Get a license for PollEverywhere, contact your school team or digitaled@liverpool.ac.uk

Sources for inspiration: