Monday, December 15, 2008

Poll Students for Free from Landline or Cell Phone!

I recently came across a website called Hey Cosmos. This site seems to be intended as a way to socially make plans quickly via phone polling. However, I saw some educative benefit in using the site as a quick, free, and accessible polling system for teachers and students. The way that it works is you create a poll question (which is an auditory poll), along with potential answers, and even responses to those answers. When done, you can "blast" out the poll to as many phone numbers (mobile or landline) as you wish. Then the person receiving the poll hears the recorded message, responds by hitting the appropriate number on the keypad and hangs up. The response is instantly reported on the Hey Cosmos site (in a private space).

The person who created the poll can even send out a response after receiving all the poll answers. For example a teacher who wants to poll their students about the topic for current events discussion the next day, can send out a blast, and after they receive their responses (about 60 seconds) they can blast out the chosen topic so the students can be prepared for the current events discussion the next day in class.

What I really like about this site:
1) It is very accessible (especially with the landline option) and only a phone call, so no text messaging charges apply.
2) It is easy to use.
3) The person creating the poll can insert their own voice (great for foreign language teachers or ESL).
4) Nice for visually impaired students.
5) There is a record of polls and respondents
6) There is privacy!
7) Students do not have to create an account to take the polls.

Limitations with the site
1) I wish I could blast from my cell phone rather than having to go to the Cosmos site.
2) I wish I could send a text poll option (instead of it always having to be audio).

Curriculum Integration Ideas:
Review Quizzes
I think this is a great resource for teachers to create some fun or quick review quizzes. Since students can get an instant response after they select their answer, it is a great way for them to get feedback. Also since all of the responses are stored in the Cosmos private account, the teacher can see which students are struggling with which topics.

Language Teachers
For students in foreign language classes, this could be a fun way to practice their oral speaking skills. The students could create surveys and polls in the foreign language. In addition, the students could demonstrate their comprehension of the foreign language by answering the correct questions that their teacher sends out.


Jim said...

This sounds great -- it might be a good way to involve parents as well as students, especially for younger students. Cell phones offer a lot for school-home coordination, since more parents have them than have/use home computers.

Thanks for this site -- it's a valuable resource, both focused and prolific.

Jacques said...

Liz, I just wanted to say this: been following what you do re. cell phones for learning, on Twitter and elsewhere. Gotta say that you ROCK! Your work is setting the pace for others to follow suit, once we get admin and others to reconsider these "little internet machines" differently than they do now. Keep up the great work and Happy Holidays!

Liz Kolb, Ph.D. said...

Wow! Jim and Jacques thank you for the flattering compliments on my site and research. Philosophically, I'm a former struggling student myself and would have LOVED the opportunity to use my own interests in technology in my learning.

Anonymous said...

Personally, I would add to the wishlist that I would like an option to offer a number out to people to respond rather than having to have all those phone numbers in my list to call. If you teach a couple hundred students each semester, and perhaps want parents to participate too, I don't really want to have all those phone numbers stored, and then if a student drops... Keep the results password protected though so it is still private.

Liz Kolb, Ph.D. said...

Hi Lauren
I agree with your "wish"! You might be able to do that with (they give you a private number associated with your cell phone, but not your cell phone number). It is worth the investigation.

Deana Mulanax said...

Great site and great idea, but I can't get it to work! I tried doing a "test blast" to my own cell and nada! :(

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