Quick and Easy Classroom Polls

I know there are approximately one billion classroom polling options, each with its own special features and quirks. But, if you’re not already familiar with Zeetings, it’s a great one to consider.

What I like about Zeetings is that it is free to use for classes up to 500 students (with the Education and Non-Profits plan). Students can follow along on a laptop, tablet, or phone. Unless you want to track attendance or participation, they don’t have to login which makes set-up pretty easy. And it has a number of cool features. You can upload a PowerPoint presentation into Zeetings and then add polls or other features into the PowerPoint. You can embed YouTube videos and other content as well.

As far as polls, you can create different types: “thumbs up/thumbs down,” multiple choice, scales, rankings, text, and word cloud. I don’t use it for taking attendance or marking participation, although you can require that students put in their names to access the Zeeting (that’s under Settings). In my class, I typically use the polls as conversation starters and quick interactive interjections.

For example, I use it a lot in my 40-person Human Rights class. In a session on international human rights law, we talk about the concept of compliance. Before discussing why states comply (or not) with human rights treaties, I get them thinking and talking about compliance with domestic law by asking a few questions about their personal compliance with laws. Zeetings – if you don’t have participants to log in with names – means their answers are anonymous. So, I can ask questions like “Have you ever stolen anything from Whole Foods?” (the Whole Foods on campus used to be a notorious site for shop-lifting but, as I learned from this exercise last year, they are now banning students if they are caught shoplifting so the numbers went way down in the poll compared to previous years). I ask them a mix of questions about laws I assume at least some have violated and some that I assume none have violated. Then I use the word cloud

Word Cloud
Responses to: “Using one word, describe why you don’t comply with certain domestic laws?”

feature to ask two follow-up questions: “Using one word, describe why you don’t comply with certain domestic laws?” and “Using one word, describe why you generally comply with certain domestic laws?” These word clouds kick off a good discussion of compliance that flows into discussions of how domestic and international law are similar and ways they are not. And then we can apply that specifically to why states comply or not comply with international human rights laws.

Zeetings, because of different polling options, works really well to frame this discussion. I just started using it last year and I plan to play around with its features and integrate it into class even more when I teach Human Rights next semester.

One Reply to “Quick and Easy Classroom Polls”

  1. Thank you for this post. I have recently discovered Voxvote. Many features are similar and I really recommend trying it.

    I have a suggestion about the topic of polling/audience participation tools. I think that the problem we face to choose one is the amount of information we need to process to identify one that is adapted to our courses and class activities. I would find it useful to have a document/table/web in which we may be able to compare their main characteristics (maximum number of participants, types of questions, answering options, visualization of the data, possibility to download an Excel file with the participants’ answers, … the list is rather long…).

    This information may be available somewhere (I have found a few of them but they only compare a few tools and some aspects that we may find important are not analysed), but if this is not the case maybe we could take advantage of our experiences (we teach various subfields of Politics and IR and work in various countries) to create a collaborative document to which all of us may contribute. We may start with a list of aspects to analyse (a simplified version of a spreadsheet like this one: https://canvas-support.emory.edu/design/POLL-Everywhere-Kahoot-Comparison-v4-Emory.pdf) and as we add the information about the tools/apps we use we may add more aspects to the list, which would be a way of suggesting new ideas for class activities.

    I do not know whether you think that this is a good idea but in any case I would be happy to contribute to such a project.

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