3 Ways Polling in the Classroom Leads to Better Student Outcomes

Teachers are always looking for new ways to help their students pursue academic success, and classroom polling is a powerful yet underutilized tool they can call on. Polling engages students by showing them that their opinions matter, breaking the usual teaching paradigm of relying on lecturing to learners. Conducting polls also allows instructors to collect real-time feedback on student performance, quickly identifying any students who might need support and revealing when a class might be ready for a fresh challenge. The combination allows new material to be presented at a pace students find engaging but not overwhelming. 


The biggest downside of polls is that it often takes instructors too much time to interpret the results in class, as even the classic show of hands requires time for counting. Fortunately, the educational experts at Echo360 have created a new product called EchoPoll to make polling in the classroom more accessible. It’s predicated on our e³ philosophy of equity, evidence, and engagement to help all students benefit from inspired learning experiences. 


EchoPoll works excellently as a standalone polling solution but becomes even more effective when combined with other Echosystem products such as EchoEngage, EchoVideo, EchoAuthor, and EchoExam. The Echosystem takes all of our tools and puts them in a framework with the student at its center to help them achieve personalized learning success. Keep reading to learn more about the benefits of polls in the classroom and how EchoPoll helps drive superior educational outcomes. 

1. Polling helps students access support in class

Students and instructors alike often struggle to determine if a learner needs help until they take a quiz or chapter test. By this point, the student may have fallen far behind. Incorporating basic comprehension questions into lessons lets students test their knowledge before the end of the unit, allowing for earlier intervention if needed. Receiving prompt assistance helps students maintain a positive attitude toward education and feel comfortable in a school environment, helping them prepare for when their coursework inevitably becomes more challenging. 


EchoPoll streamlines this process by allowing students to participate anonymously, meaning that the rest of the class doesn’t need to know that Johnny is struggling with geometry or Linda needs help memorizing the life processes. Naturally, the teacher will be able to see who answered correctly or incorrectly whenever they conduct a poll in class. EchoPoll also empowers students to send confusion alerts to their instructor, asking for personalized help discreetly. In short, EchoPoll gets students help without disrupting their peers, avoiding personal barriers and wasted class time. 

EchoPoll automates the data interpretation process for instructors as well, visualizing student responses in real-time to make it more actionable. Furthermore, EchoPoll automatically generates engagement scores for all students to let instructors know when they might need to slow down or pick up the pace to maintain the class’s full attention. As such, instructors get the evidence they need to provide individualized support to every learner they’re responsible for.  

2. Live polls increase classroom engagement

Studies consistently show that engaged students get more out of class, and live polling adds an interactive element to lectures to promote engagement. It’s an unavoidable fact that many students struggle to focus while their teacher is giving a lengthy lecture about the use of alliteration in Shakespeare or why the Union won the American Civil War. Polls help shift the focus of lessons back to the students, enabling them to share their opinions on what they’re studying while encouraging class-wide discussion.


EchoPoll brings this aspect of polls to the next level. Instructors can show the results to the entire class to facilitate an exchange of ideas without forcing students to reveal their answers if they would prefer not to. If the question is opinion-based, sharing the group’s answers without revealing who said what can stimulate intriguing discussions. If the question is fact-based, revealing the class’s answers can be a prompt for group work as students collaborate to determine the correct one.  

With EchoPoll, instructors can also add poll questions to any form of media to make it more engaging. For example, instructors can use intuitive poll creation tools to embed questions into video content on EchoVideo, ensuring students pay attention while testing their knowledge. If a student answers incorrectly, it’s easy to search for the concept they need to know. EchoVideo automatically transcribes video-based content and creates a searchable index to help students arrive at the correct response. Since students always know where to turn for help, they remain engaged instead of giving up. 


Learning is most effective when it’s fun, and EchoPoll supports multiple gamification elements to promote engagement. Leaderboards and badges both recognize student accomplishments and give them something to brag about on social media, fostering friendly competition with their friends. During an in-person class, students can also be broken into teams and participate in quiz show games with points and wagers. Instructors can even offer rewards for participating in and winning these games, with EchoPoll handling all of the associated administrative work. 


Some students are most motivated by test and quiz scores, and EchoPoll integrates with EchoExam to ensure that all classroom poll questions are relevant. EchoExam includes over 15,600 questions aligned to federal Common Core standards along with textbook content from close to 100 publishers. With EchoExam instructors easily create polls without running out of items for study guides, practice tests, and assessments. Since everything is drawn from the same source, students understand that their performance in class directly correlates to what they’ll see on exam day. 


All told, EchoPoll and the rest of the Echosystem have been shown to increase student engagement by up to a factor of seven, making teaching effectively much easier — and more fun. 

Do poll questions encourage participation?

Most instructors encourage all of their students to partake in every class discussion, but some don’t feel comfortable raising their hands under any circumstances. Anonymous polls are a great way to ensure shyer students have their voices heard whether they’re answering review questions or taking a position in a civics or ethics course. 


EchoPoll makes participation easy by allowing students to answer on mobile devices such as smartphones they already feel comfortable using. If any students don’t have a phone, no problem. They can also participate on a web browser or through clickers provided by the instructor to ensure they don’t miss out on anything. Answers remain anonymous as well.

Engagement is more enjoyable when you have more students participating. With EchoPoll, instructors can set guest user access allowing learners to join with anonymity and administrators can control the session size allowing more learners to participate and meet compliance standards.

3. Poll questions promote equity for asynchronous learners

Leveling the playing field for asynchronous learners

Polls are most frequently associated with an in-person classroom setting, but students taking online, asynchronous classes can also benefit immensely from them. EchoPoll allows instructors to create courses with mandatory comprehension items, requiring students to demonstrate an understanding of one concept before moving to the next. Likewise, instructors can hide content until these items are answered to discourage rushing through self-paced assignments. The result is often a deeper understanding of whatever learners are studying. 


Otherwise, polls for asynchronous students are similar to conducting them in person. They can be used to make it easier to identify students who might need help, promote learner engagement, and help online students connect with their peers. EchoPoll content is even accessible on mobile devices to give students more control over how they want to interact with it. As the COVID-19 pandemic illustrated, learners should not be allowed to fall behind simply because they cannot attend school in person.

Making classroom polling accessible for all

When it comes to accessibility, EchoPoll meets or exceeds all Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0). This ensures equity in educational access for all students regardless of any sensory impairments or learning differences. High-contrast visuals ensure that everyone can read poll questions, while multiple input types allow anyone to respond. EchoPoll also has an intuitive interface that anybody will be able to utilize effectively.

Learn more about how EchoPoll benefits students in the classroom

Student participation is often the key to getting students interested in academics and inspiring them to put forth their best efforts. Polls are a fantastic way to encourage participation without disrupting the flow of a typical classroom, and using technology to facilitate the endeavor makes it easier for instructors to process and act upon the results in real time. 


You can conduct polls through video chat and props like flashcards, but that’s a cumbersome solution that might end up distracting learners more than helping them. You also wouldn’t get analytical tools to help you interpret the results or administrative features like EchoPoll gives you.  

We strongly believe that EchoPoll is the best way to conduct polls for everyone, everywhere, but you don’t have to take our word for it. Instead, contact us today to learn more about EchoPoll’s capabilities and how it combines with the entire Echosystem to achieve superior engagement outcomes.  

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