Accessibility, communication, Digital Capability, innovative teaching, interactive learning

Mentimeter and PollEverywhere – Audience Response Systems Introduction

Before we start, there’s a couple of things to note about using free web tools:

  • Sites now often offer “freemium” services (the word freemium is a combination of the words free and premium), which you will usually have to sign up to individually.
  • Often, this means they’ll give you a certain amount of features for free, but then you’ll have to pay for the full service, and for the ability for sharing your content outside the site.
  • Sometimes, freemium tools can be very helpful for teaching and learning, but it must be noted that these tools discussed today are not supported technically by the University.

I have recently come across a very powerful tool/web service – Mentimeter, and I’ve decided to write short introduction and compare it to another similar tool, PollEverywhere which is used by some academics at CU.

Mentimeter or more known as Menti.com is an audience responsive system that could be used during the lecturers for feedback or just to make the lecture more interactive. Some of you may have experience with PollEverywhere by using polls or interactive quizzes for feedback in your lectures. Both systems are quite similar but still there are some differences.

I have to state that none of these systems are supported by Cardiff University and you have to create your personal account to use them. Both systems are the great way to catch audience attention, but more importantly make the lecture more interactive – which is something we get asked about often.

Some of the pros that both systems can offer include:

  • Real time responses to the polls/quizzes by using mobile devices
  • Both systems allows you to incorporate the poll/quiz to your PowerPoint presentation
  • Both offer many types of question (see the table 1)
table 1

Table 1 *Some types of questions in one system could be replaced with the different type in the other. But either system would need an explanation when using with students. I would suggest that you think carefully about the types of question you want to use in advance.

  • Next, we’ll look at the restrictions of using both systems with a personal account (table 2):
table2

Table 2 *40 – maximum number of responses a single poll can receive but you can clear it and reuse.


From my user point of view, I compared both systems by creating an easy poll or feedback quiz.

+ Mentimeter is very young Swedish company creating and developing application Menti.com in last 4 years. The user interface of the application is very simple, intuitive and you can create a poll or quiz in just few clicks. The interface for the audience is also very simple, and is targeted at mobile devices (and BYOD). The audience navigate to menti.com, are given a 6 digit code to input and can then see the questions or presentation. There is a plugin available to incorporate the poll into your PowerPoint presentation. The poll and quiz settings are very comprehensive and generating the code is very simple.

Mentimeter personal account will not allow you to customize the question. Users could be confused by so many question types. The question restrictions for personal account could also be annoying. You could create more polls with different codes, but could also annoying for audience.

+/- Overall Mentimeter is great tool to interact with your learners by using simple questions to reaffirm the learners understanding, polling your students, or feeding back to your students.

+ PollEverywhere has been on the market much longer and it’s a very powerful tool. It allows you to create and customize many interesting question types (including a clickable image). By creating a survey you can combine all question types. It’s possible to test the quiz before populating which is very useful. You are able to link your question poll to your presentation or Twitter

PollEverywhere is a large, powerful tool. In my opinion, the user interface is not as friendly and intuitive as in Mentimeter. The compatibility with mobile devices is not as simple. The audience need to input a url into a web browser (not a simple code). The audience limitation could be very annoying if you have a class of more than 40 students.

+/- Overall PollEverywhere is very strong tool, and it even enables SMS polling which could be suitable for areas without internet connection. The creation of polls or quizzes are quite intuitive but some elements are tricky. We do have several staff within the University using poll everywhere successfully already (with classes under 40 students).

There is no winner as such, but I hope this comparison gives you a taste of what using audience responsive polls can bring to your lectures.


If you are interested you can find more information or sign up below:

https://www.mentimeter.com/

https://www.polleverywhere.com/

More references using audience responsive systems in learning and teaching:

Nancy R. Glassman (2015), Texting During Class: Audience Response Systems, Journal of Electronic Resources in Medical Libraries Vol. 12 , Iss. 1,2015

Van Daele, T., Frijns, C. and Lievens, J. (2016), How do students and lecturers experience the interactive use of handheld technology in large enrolment courses?. Br J Educ Technol. doi:10.1111/bjet.12500

Chris Little (2016), Mentimeter Smartphone Student Response System: A class above clickers. Compass: Journal of Learning and Teaching, Vol. 9, Iss. 13,2016

Comments

  • Matt Townsend

    Used PollEverywhere successfully at a recent conference. We had around 100 participants so had to upgrade but the opportunity for interaction was well received.
    Only problem was with the txt response option as those users only needed to enter the poll name once rather than every time so the poll name ended up skewing the word cloud option.
    A very easy to use product though.
    In the past I know that the School of Medicine have used this product with their students.

    • Martin Nosek

      Hi Matt,
      thanks a lot for sharing experience. Hopefully we’ll get more feedback on using these tools.

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