Friday, November 2, 2012

Class Meeting and Survey Monkey

Every Wednesday our class has a Class Meeting. This is a deviation from our normal Morning Routine. It gives a chance for our class to talk about important community issues, and empowers the students as agents of change. Our Class Meetings our a combination of the Responsive Classroom approach, and Donna Styles' approach.
Anyway, this post isn't about how I structure class meetings. Instead it's about one particular class meeting- The last one I had with my fourth graders, and a last-second decision that ended up being pretty cool. 
Our focal point of this particular class meeting was to vote on this year's Elementary T-Shirt designs. The students had created designs in art class using the Drawing app in Google Drive. The problem was as I got to school and started to prepare for the day is that I found I didn't have access to their designs. They hadn't been shared with me yet. What I would have normally done was to present each of the drawings to the class on the SMART Board and have them vote for the top three. 

Our 4th Grade T-Shirt Designs

But because I didn't have access to their drawings from my account, I couldn't do that. This made me realize of an alternative route. I remembered that our class houses the floor's laptop cart. So I thought we could bring our laptops to our class meeting, and have each student show their design. 

But then I thought about voting. Normally I have the children close their eyes to vote for things.  But since they were going to have their laptops anyway, I thought about using an online voting tool.
At first I thought I might be able to use Edmodo's polling feature, but I wanted voters to vote for multiple people. I don't know if this is possible in Edmodo. I don't think it is.
Then I remembered Survey Monkey.
I've tried to use Survey Monkey before when I tried to migrate our Elementary After School Activities sign-ups to be wholly electronic.  Survey Monkey and other web-based surveys* were terrible for this. But there are a sub-genre of web based tools specifically for sign-ups, which was just recently pointed out to me.

However Survey Monkey seemed to be the perfect application for this day's task. I opened it up, designed a survey in 5 minutes, and emailed the link to my students' accounts.
Showing off the T-shirt designs on the individual laptops was a bit clumsy, but the voting was slick, anonymous, and quick. The results, of course were instantaneous. It was awesome. A nice alternative to the "heads down" approach. When I have class voting in the future, Survey Monkey will be how I prefer to do it.

*Actually, Fluid Surveys had a paid feature where what I needed was promised to be possible. However the feature was broken. The support team couldn't figure it out, and so I got a refund. Our After School Activities remained paper-based until this season. But I finally found a way to make the transition from paper to the cloud.

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