6 Uses of Poll Everywhere in Student Affairs Training, Teaching and Events

It’s that time of year! Time to train the staff, open the halls, and start welcome week. I wanted to share one of my favorite tools, Poll Everywhere, and give you some suggestions on how to use it in creative ways with your events, student staff trainings, educational sessions, and in the classroom.

Poll Everywhere is a great web service for running different types of live polls. Participants can answer via a simple text message or via a web browser on their smartphones, tablets or laptops. Question types can range from multiple choice to free-text response. As participants respond, results are shown in real time via a webpage (or a plug-in for Keynote or PowerPoint) that can be projected for all to see.  (You can view their “tour” here.)

There are many ways you can use Poll Everywhere to engage your audience. Here are my suggestions (and some reasons why Poll Everywhere may be a better solution than other options out there):
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Three Simple Rules to Ramp Up Your Student Affairs Department’s Social Media Presence

On occasion I’m asked to sit down with student affairs professionals and departments to consult on their social media presence. What always strikes me about these conversations is that many view social media as merely a new form of advertising. Social media is actually far more complex and possesses a different set of rules in order to be successful. Rather than just posting about your events and deadlines, departments need to think about social media as a program itself. You have to ENGAGE your users just as you would through a compelling program.

One of my trusted colleagues, Leah Kreimer, always used to advise her students groups that every program needed to have three elements:

1. Something to get them there
2. Something to keep them there
3. Something to take away

These simple rules are a great way of understanding how a department should approach their social media presence. To put them in social media terms, you could re-conceptualize these elements as:

1. Something to get them to follow you
2. Something to keep them coming back to check, read and engage with
3. Something that they can share with others to promote you further
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My Teaching Philosophy

< Return to my Teaching Portfolio

For me, teaching is a calling.  From my earliest childhood memories, I remember loving to play “school.”  This love of the entire process of learning has followed me throughout the changes in my career path.  In any role, regardless of whether I am acting in the formal roles of “instructor” or “student,” I seek to learn and to teach.

Student affairs and higher education is my chosen career path.  In my faculty and professional roles, I consider mentoring, supervising and teaching the next generation of thought and practice leaders to be a wonderful privilege.  Giving back to the profession I love and believe in is one of the primary motivators behind my teaching.  By teaching the teachers, I know that my work can have an impact on college students far beyond those with whom I have immediate contact.
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Education Radicals: An Evolution of Image

At left, Michelle Rhee’s Time Magazine cover from 2008 when she was Chancellor of the Washington, DC schools.  At right, two years later in 2010 after she resigned from office.

Education and politics are littered with change sagas and heroes.  I find individuals who enact radical change, however, to be particularly interesting.  It always intrigues me how the image of these public figures evolves over time.  They often undergo the journey from being viewed as controversial autocrats to being hailed as trail-blazing visionaries (well, at least the “successful” ones, anyway).  When confronted with these stories, I always wonder if I would possess the strength to endure the public scrutiny and be up for the challenge of being one of these change agents.
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You’ve watched TED Talks, but have you read the new TED Books? [UPDATED]

This week, the folks over at TED just released a new initiative known as TED Books.  Available through apps for iPad, Kindle and Nook, TED Books are meant to be the eTextbook complement to the innovative series of TED talks we have all grown to love.  Following the TED tradition of brevity, they are all meant to be consumed in about an hour.  Their content also follows the TED tradition of unique, cutting edge and innovative content.
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