Introducing Live Polling

We’re really excited to officially announce the latest addition to Stile - live polling! 


What is live polling and what can I do with it?

Simply put, live polling is a fast and effective way to gauge your learners’ opinions or understanding. In a sense, it’s like raising your hand in Stile. While live polling doesn’t replace raising hands, it does have a couple of advantages over its physical counterpart.

Firstly, because you can choose to hide class results from students, polls help prevent herd mentality as well as students changing their opinion based on that of the popular kid.

As the teacher you can see exactly who has picked what in real time. You can show this to the class or just keep it for your records - it’s up to you. 

Another advantage is that you can ask your class a number of complex poll questions to quickly check their level of understanding without having to collect any work. 

Finally, live polls have the benefit of having a permanent record of the class results available for both teacher and students.


How do I create a live poll?

Setting up a poll is very similar to (and as easy as) creating a multiple choice question. Just type a question or statement into the box provided, followed by two or more options for your students to pick from. 

As the teacher you can:

  1. open and close voting at any point
  2. choose whether or not the poll results are visible to your students 

Now let me outline a few interesting use cases for live polls.

Made for flipping

Most of you would be familiar with the concept of the flipped classroom (keep an eye out for our upcoming series of blog posts that will help you with your flipping skills!), but a common issue often faced by teachers is that their students don’t do their homework, or they cheat by sharing answers with their friends.

Setting up a quick live poll to be conducted in class is a great way to check whether your students have understood the content you asked them to digest at home.

Here’s how:

1. Preparation: Set up your activity (such as a video, some text and perhaps a few multiple choice comprehension questions) and ask students to complete it at home.

Example: If you’re teaching a French class, you could add a French short film for students to watch together with a glossary of words you think they won’t know yet and some comprehension questions. 


2. Set up a ‘have they actually watched it?’ live poll with a few questions that test whether students have absorbed the material. This could initially be about what content was covered.

Example: Set up around 7-8 topics, most of which were covered in the short film, along with a couple of red herrings. That will quickly show you who has actually watched it - even if they didn’t understand it.


3. The comprehension poll - Your next poll can now be a bit more abstract.

Example: This could be a particular grammar point mentioned in the short film that you want to focus on in class. Post four different translations of a phrase that uses that grammar point but isn’t mentioned in the film as such. Don’t show them the class results at this point. For students it looks like this:


Students pick the option they think is right and you, as the teacher, see who has been able to apply the knowledge and who hasn’t by clicking on the blue bars. This is what our French teacher sees if they click on each poll bar:

4. Discussion (a.k.a. peer teaching) Those of you who attended last month’sStile Learning Community Workshop would be familiar with Alan November’s favoured next step: peer teaching via discussion. 

Example: After the students have picked a translation, you can reveal the results to the class (or not, it’s up to you) and get them to explain their choice to other students who picked different translations in small groups.

5. Poll again - After the discussion, run the same poll again and see if it differs from the first one - we can almost guarantee that it will, hopefully for the better! As the teacher, you can now go over the options in more detail (if required), ask students who chose unusual answers to explain to the class why they have chosen them and much more.

Many students will get more out of a discussion with their peers than from a lecture. If you’re interested in learning more about the power of peer teaching, Alan November referenced the work of Erik Nazur in his keynote, which you can read about here).

We’d love to hear you how you are using live polling in your classrooms and what works (or doesn’t!) for you.

Guido Gautsch

Education Specialist at Stile