LTLC Practice Exchange: Activate classroom learning with polling apps

Submitted by Ben Walsh

Overview of the event

The Library Teaching and Learning Committee (LTLC) held their first Practice Exchange of 2018 on March 9th. Kaitlin Fuller (Liaison & Education Librarian, Gerstein Science Information Centre), Margaret Wall (Communications Librarian, Chief Librarian’s Office), and Jesse Carliner (Robarts Library, Reference & Research Services / Communications Librarian, Chief Librarian’s Office) introduced two free polling tools they have been using in recent instructional sessions to engage students and provide active learning opportunities.


Mentimeter is a platform Kaitlin deployed in her health sciences IL sessions as a way of pretesting to determine areas for emphasis and to reinforce key learning outcomes. She also reported grounding recommendations made to faculty in data generated through Mentimeter.

Kahoot! is a polling tool Margaret and Jesse introduced into a large first-year IL session in Convocation Hall. While Poll Everywhere was the app they initially planned to use, Margaret and Jesse did a quick redesign of planned activities after learning that Poll Everywhere had too few seats to accommodate the large number of students expected. Kahoot! has no limit on the number of participants and Jesse and Margaret’s poll had close to 500 students taking part. They used the poll as an alternative to the think-pair-share activities they would normally use in instruction sessions and see the data generated through the tool as a useful addition to our understanding of undergraduate student needs.


Most attendees agreed that Mentimeter’s more formal interface would be a better fit for IL instruction. Questions were raised about privacy and accessibility which led to a rich conversation about student needs in the context of mobile technology in the classroom.

Practice Exchanges happen 2-3 times a year, and the Community of Practice Working Group is always looking for new topics to discuss. Have any ideas? Fee free to contact a member of the group.

LTLC Community of Practice Working Group members 2017-18:
Aneta Kwak, Kelly Schultz, Eden Rusnell, and Ben Walsh

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