Using clicker systems is one of many ways that technology can be used to gather anonymous feedback from students in a classroom. One of the problems associated with those systems is the cost of acquiring them. Here are three alternatives to purchasing clicker systems for your school while still gathering anonymous feedback from students.
Soap Box is a new service that enables teachers to gather instant feedback from students through their cell phones, tablets, or laptops. Soap Box offers nine useful functions for teachers and students. The video below offers an overview of all of the features. One of the features that grabbed my attention is the "confusion barometer" that allows students to state their status as either "I get it" or "I'm confused." Two other features that jumped out at me are the "smart filter" and the "profanity filter." The smart filter searches for similar questions in the backchannel to avoid duplicates. The profanity filter blocks inappropriate language from being posted in the backchannel.
Socrative is a system that uses cell phones and or laptops (user's choice) for gathering feedback from students. You can post as many questions as you like in a variety of formats. One of the more "fun" question formats is the "race" format in which students can work individually or in teams to answer questions as quickly as possible. The video below offers a nice overview of the Socrative system.
Socrative introduction video (new) from Socrative Inc. on Vimeo.
Poll Everywhere is a service that allows you to collect responses from an audience via text messaging. The free plan for K-12 educators provides selection of features and quantity of responses that is adequate for almost any classroom. One of the neat ways to display feedback gathered through Poll Everywhere is in word clouds. The word cloud feature integrates with Wordle, Tagxedo, and Tagul.
It's a bird. It's a plane. It's the new way to create polls! from Poll Everwhere on Vimeo.
Before using any of these services in your classroom, please keep in mind that students could incur text messaging charges.