My first experience using audience response systems, or clickers, was with a spendy system that integrates with Powerpoint. You have to make sure the program was installed on whatever computer you were going to use and each student has to have a handheld device that you had to purchase of part of a kit. Making sure all the devices worked always had me nervous. But the results of the poll were instantly fed back to your Powerpoint.
The next great step was a polling system that works through text messaging. I could display a Powerpoint slide with whatever question I was asking and students would then use their cell phones to text a number that correlated to a response.
But, now a new tool is in private beta testing and it looks AMAZING. Socrative.
I signed up for an account and within minutes got an email with instructions for how to get started. As of today, they are still in private beta so I’m not sure what you can expect.
Whether you or your students are using laptops, tablets, or smartphones, connecting is easy and there are many more options than simply doing polls. Here’s part of the screen where the teacher manages activities:
If you’re wondering how it works, visit here: http://www.socrative.com/how-it-works.php
Sue Frantz wrote an excellent post about Socrative: http://suefrantz.com/2011/07/10/socrative-turn-student-smartphones-into-clickers/