So far I've written about the first two sessions that I attended on Wednesday, and both of them used live polling: that was really fun! Mollye used Kahoot in her OER session, and the engineers used polls.ninja. There were other live polling tools that people used in other sessions I attended, and I enjoyed it every time. That is something new since I did classroom-based teaching (I left the classroom behind in 2002!), and if I were teaching in a classroom now, I would definitely be using these fun tools.
In fact, one of the fascinating things about an education conference like this is how the problems instructors face in the classroom are very similar to the problems conference presenters face also: how can you connect with all those people in the room and get a sense of what they are thinking even while you are doing most or even all of the talking...? I saw people using these polling tools to get a sense of audience awareness of a topic and their current knowledge, I saw them using polls as a way to direct the presentation based on what the audience voted for, and I also saw tools being used to have fun competitions (I even won a T-shirt in one presentation; more about that later ha ha). You can do so many fun and useful things with these tools above and beyond good old-fashioned raising of hands.
And I have to confess that the nickname generator in Kahoot is seriously cool. When I first saw all the names popping up, I was thinking, "Wow, these people are incredibly creative! Look at all these fabulous names they are making up!" ... but then I saw how it worked: it's a generator inside Kahoot. Since I teach storytelling, I'm thinking it would be a fun extra credit tech tip challenge to show my students how to use Kahoot both as a polling tool and also as a fun way to get characters they could write stories about: Fanciful Aardvark... Fierce Hedgehog... Honorable Panda... no kidding, those are the first three that came up! Don't you want to tell a story about them...?
Here's Fanciful Aardvark:
(made with cheezburger.com)