Teachers across many different disciplines require students to conduct primary research. Having the ability to design an effective data collection instrument, such as a poll or survey, obtain and analyze data, report on the findings, and make recommendations are essential skills for our students to develop, especially for students who plan to attend college and/or become entrepreneurs. Beyond that, engaging in primary research provides students with an authentic learning experience; increasing the relevancy and meaning of the activity. As a result, students are more motivated to learn and they soon realize they have the ability to find the answers to their own questions.
Primary data collection has a distinct process, beginning with the identification of a problem, and ending with putting the results of the research into action. Again, teachers in virtually all content areas want their students to develop the ability to problem solve, making primary data collection the perfect vehicle to introduce, practice, and hone problem-solving and analytical skills. Students who become skilled at conducting primary research can go from obtaining and analyzing simple demographic statistics to designing more sophisticated research studies which focus on the opinions, ideas, and attitudes of the respondents. With enough practice and exposure, some students may even want to explore research as a potential career path.
With technology, the days of students having to count by hand the results of a survey distributed on paper to a small sample size are over. Today, students can create a web-based survey, share it across their social networks to gather a larger and more statistically valid sample size and spend time on what really matters: critically analyzing and reporting on the results. Many teachers know about Survey Monkey, but not as many know about Twtpoll.com.
Twtpoll, is a product of 63 Squares, and can be used to create either polls or surveys. A completed poll/survey can be shared via Twitter, e-mail or other social networks. Below are step-by-step instructions on how to go about setting up your first Twtpoll. So, the next time you want your students to conduct primary research, I hope you will give this tool a try. I’m confident you will find it to be a powerful and user-friendly digital resource. If you have any questions, need additional assistance, or want me to help you and your students create a Twtpoll, please don’t hesitate to contact me and/or come visit me in the Help Desk.
SETTING UP YOUR FIRST TWTPOLL:
Below are the steps to get started using Twtpoll as well as a short video explaining how Twtpoll is being used in business.
STEP 1: Create a new account with either your e-mail or sign-in if you have a Twitter account. I always sign in with Twitter. If you have your students conduct a Twtpoll through their Twitter accounts, this is one way to start incorporating responsible digital citizenship into your curriculum. I also use the FREE version of Twtpoll, which allows 100 responses per survey/poll. If you plan to or need to have more than 100 responses, you can sign-up for a paid plan.
STEP 2: Register for Twtpoll with your e-mail or authorize the Twitter app and wait to be redirected to Twtpoll to start creating your first poll/survey.
STEP 3: Select either Create a Poll or Create a Survey and start creating! (the rest of these steps will walk you through the survey)
STEP 4: Enter a title and a description of your survey
STEP 5: Add your survey questions
* You have several different types of questions you can ask:
*You can also ask a poll/survey question about an image or video by entering the URL.
STEP 6: Enter your answer choices (you can have images or videos as answer choices) Use one line per answer. You can also make the question required and/or add an “other” option. Then select “Add Question” to add another question to your survey/poll.
STEP 7: Add your survey details. Once you are done adding questions, you will select an end date of the survey, indicate if it is public or private, select demographic questions to include, ask optional information, and use Twitter to verify responses (I never used that feature because it requires respondents to have a Twitter account and not everyone does). Then select “continue.”
STEP 8: Review and publish your survey/poll. Select either “Free” (you have up to 100) votes or select a payment option. $99 will get you free surveys with one Twitter account forever.
STEP 9: Publish the survey. You can Tweet a link to the survey, embed it on your website, or send it through other social networks. You can also specify the date and time to Tweet the link to your survey.
SAMPLES OF RESULTS:
Below are several screen shots of the results of a survey I conducted last year. I wanted to learn more about how my students viewed digital citizenship. You can see how nicely Twtpoll displays the results, allowing you, or your students, more time to focus on analysis, conclusions, and discussion. Another practical use of this tool would be to gather feedback from students after each quarter to discover what is and isn’t working for them in your class.