Alternative audience response systems – web, twitter and mobile phone

As part of this project I’m looking at playing with “clickers” that work via the web, twitter, mobile phones or some other medium that removes the physical limitations of traditional devices (i.e. you have to be in the room with the lecturer).

The following will be a summary and description of a growing number of systems that I come across. Suggestions more than welcome.

Poll Everywhere

Early bits of this work was based on the discovery of Poll Everywhere.

This is a commercial service with a range of plans and reminds me somewhat of the services/sites of 37Signals. But $USD400 a term seems a bit steep.

Trouble here is that it is US-based, so it’s a US number to call. It does support Twitter and the Web for voting, but I don’t think a lot of the on-campus people at my talk will be able to use those services. I don’t think Twitter or iPhone like phones have diffused sufficiently.


Votapedia is apparently a free service offered by a project within CSIRO that uses mobile phones and the web (in the form of a MediaWiki). Mobile phone usage doesn’t cost the participant as their call gets the busy signal. The original post generated some comments from a colleague at QUT with a positive experience.

This is the one I’m currently planning to use. I’ve set the wheels in motion necessary to get an account. So unless I find a better service or I can’t get Votapedia to work you’ll be hearing more about it.

Misc others

  • pollgate – twitter only?
  • twtpoll – Twitter, but only followers?
  • SMS poll – commercial SMS, includes an Australian version. Also supports web voting.
  • TextTheMob – SMS or mobile web. Includes message boards.
  • LetsGoVote – another SMS voting approach

Reports of use

Came across this post which appears to report on an experience of doing this sort of thing. It is based around the following presentation. Aspects of the context sound very familiar. The post and comments also generated some additional example systems.

It reports 7 of 30 people (about 30%) generating SMS responses. There’s a benchmark to beat.

It’s connected with this blog post with a case study.

What I’ll be using

At this stage, the plan is to use votapedia. But I have to do some more experimenting, I know have an authorized account which lets me start using it.

The advantages of votapedia, I’d suggest include:

  • It’s no cost to the students.
  • It apparently supports input by both SMS and Web.
    This will help for potential participants who aren’t in Australia. However, it looks like international folk will be able to use the SMS option.
  • It has a range of question types, including anonymous text.
    I’m keen to see how text type responses can be fed into Wordle clouds much like Andy Ramsden tried.
  • Someone at QUT has used it with good results.

Will have to play with this tomorrow.

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