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Saturday, July 24, 2010

Week in Review - The Most Popular Posts

It's Saturday morning in Maine and I just came inside from some bug collecting and soccer playing with my neighbor's six year old. Before I'm summoned for some more soccer I want to share this week's most popular posts.

Here are the seven most popular items of the last week:
1. Hey Seth, How About Some Practical Ideas?
2. Simple Diagrams - Free Diagram Creation Tool
3. Every Teacher Should Have a Blog & How to Create One
4. Great Video - Study Like a Scholar, Scholar
5. Ten Uses for Drop.io in Education
6. New from Common Craft - Secure Passwords
7. USGS Multimedia Gallery

Thank you to everyone that helped spread the word about the great resources listed above. Together we can help spread the word to other teachers about the great free resources that can make our students' learning experiences better.

If you enjoyed the links above, please consider subscribing to Free Technology for Teachers if you haven't already done so. Subscribe via RSS. Subscribe via Email. Become a Facebook Fan.

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Nine Survey Tools for Teachers and Students

On many occasions in the past I've written here and shared on other forums that I think placing a survey or poll on your classroom blog or website is a great way to get informal feedback from your students. I usually put a survey on my class blog a week or so before any formal assessment that my students are going to take. That feedback helps me identify the areas that my students need more help and or clarification on.

Here are nine tools that you can use to put a survey or poll on your class blog.

Using Yarp you can create a simple one question survey or one line event invitation. To create a Yarp survey select "survey" on the homepage, type a question, then select your answer format. All answer formats present only two options along the lines of "true or false" or "yes or no." Yarp invitations use the same format styles as Yarp surveys.

Vorbeo is a free service for creating polls for your blog or website. To use Vorbeo just type your question, enter your answer choices, select a background color, and specify the width of your polling widget. Then copy the embed code provided by Vorbeo and paste it into the html editor of your blog or website.

Urtak is a free and simple polling service that can be used on any blog or website. The polls you create can have multiple questions, but they must be "yes or no" questions. But Urtak isn't that limited because visitors to your poll also have the option of writing in their own questions. You can get started using Urtak in seconds by registering with your Twitter or Facebook account. You can also use your email address to create an account with Urtak. Urtak polls can be embedded into your blog or you can direct people to your poll by sharing the unique url Urtak assigns to your poll.

Buzz Dash is a free polling service that allows anyone to create a poll to use on any blog or website. There are a lot of survey and polling widgets that you can use on your blog (in fact, Blogger has one built-in), but what I like about Buzz Dash is that your poll results instantly update whenever someone votes. The update happens without the need to refresh your page in order to see the new poll results. Buzz Dash has gone out of business. Read about it here if you like.

Obsurvey gives you the flexibility to create multiple choice surveys or open-ended surveys. Setting up a survey with Obsurvey is an easy process. To set up a survey simply select your question format and then edit the questions and answer choices using the text editor. The video here shows you how to set-up Obsurvey.

Fluid Surveys is a good tool for quickly creating surveys that offer multiple response formats. Many free survey programs only allow one type of response format, multiple choice or text. Fluid Surveys allows you to combine both formats in one survey. The drag and drop interface is so easy to use that you can build a survey in less than a minute. Watch the video here to see how easy it is to use Fluid Surveys.

Stellar Survey offers free surveys that teachers and school administrators can use to get feedback about courses and instructors. Users can select from a predefined template and questions or create a survey from scratch. The free, basic account only allows 50 responses per survey so it is not ideal for large classes, but for most teachers 50 responses will adequate.
No list of survey tools would be complete without mentioning the following two very popular services.
Polldaddy is one of the most recognized platforms for online polling. The free Polldaddy plan allows you to create polls or surveys containing up to ten questions. Poll/ survey results are displayed in real-time.
Poll Everywhere is a poll/ survey service that allows you to collect responses via text messaging. Post your question(s) on your unique Poll Everywhere survey and the audience can voice their opinion(s) using their cell phones. Survey results are available instantly. The free plan allows you to collect responses from up to thirty respondents.

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