Last week, Poll Everywhere made a change to their accounts, and it caught a lot of people by surprise. One of the features educators love was moved to the premium teacher account, and it was not necessarily taken well by many. As I was the one who had introduced many of my colleagues to the service, they turned to me for answers.
Truth be told, I hadn't noticed it at that point in time, so I did some investigating. I hadn't seen any notice, so I sent a direct message to @polleverywhere on twitter. In the meantime, I mentioned to others that polls could always be copied, so there was a way to bypass the non-clearing problem, though not as convenient as clearing each individually.
Poll Everywhere responded, and there was a great reason that Poll Everywhere made this change, and in the long run, it will be very helpful to teachers and districts for data collection. First off, the students absolutely love using Poll Everywhere. One of my students today said, "I feel bad for doing this in school. We've always been told it's wrong and against the rules to use our cell phones to learn." This is a great tool!
But this new change will benefit all those who use it. The problem is, how to pay for it. For now, Poll Everywhere has returned poll clearing to the free education account, but I am sure that it won't last. This is only speculation on my part, but I imagine it will remain through the end of the school year and then be moved back into the premium educator account come June. This would allow for teachers to use the service as they are used to for the remainder of the school year, which is good for teachers.
But we, as educators, cannot just allow for the switch back to happen without reciprocating. During this time, we have to show the power of this tool. Get your administrators and school board members into your classrooms to see the use so they realize both how powerful a classroom tool this can be as well as the amount of money that could be saved against buying classroom sets of clickers.
We are still at a point where many districts are not looking at adding to their budgets, so it might be difficult to get districts to pay for a plan. When looking at the K-12 pricing, the building/district plans seems pretty sweet. Why not get kids to pony up $2.50 per year with the promise of allowing them to use their cell phones in school (at appropriate times, of course)? That's only one and a half sodas that they would have to give up. I think they could handle it.
Of course, requiring kids to pay for this might not be the best plan either, and many teachers cringe at the $129 per year cost. But what if you only paid $10.75 a month for the teacher account? Doesn't that sound better? I know I could handle that quite well.
Oh, and, when you do the math, $10.75 a month comes out to $129 per year. It doesn't change the overall cost, but might make it easier to afford as opposed to a one-time yearly cost. I guess that would be my suggestion for a change for next year.
As it is, Poll Everywhere wants your input. First, read their blog post about this issue. Comment on this post to offer suggestions or visit their Get Satisfaction page. Remember, services like this just cannot remain free forever. They have helped us out, now what can we do for them?