What does it do?
Getting feedback in class or fostering collaboration to enhance understanding of a topic is a crucial part of learning, so we make no apologies for featuring another instant polling tool this week in the form of Mentimeter. Mentimeter is an eye-catching and slick way of gathering formative responses to assess understanding, and allow simple exploration of how well an audience is engaging with a topic.
How does it work?
Mentimeter works with all kinds of devices - mobiles, tablets, laptops - requiring just web access to operate. You would use the Mentimeter website to create single questions or to string several questions together as a'Presentation'. Unfortunately, the free version of Mentimeter only allows you to string three questions together, which is a little short for a presentation requiring feedback to any serious degree.
There are a variety of question styles and formats including;
- Multiple choice - simple text-based MCQs
- Multiple image - as above but images rather than text
- Word cloud - construct a word cloud from audience inputs
- Scales - allow responses on a sliding axis
- Open-ended - free-text style responses
- 100 points - allocate weighting to pre-set options
- 2x2 matrix - plot responses involving two variables on a 2-axis matrix
- Who will win? - selection/preference from three variables
- Q&A - allow audience to ask their own free-text questions
To respond to questions in a classroom or lecture situation, the audience simply needs to visit a webpage (with a short URL) and enter a short code to access the right question/presentation.
Naturally, audience responses to the questions generate some appealing visuals presenting a summary of responses in a variety of styles - bar charts, pie charts, scales, word clouds etc. Results are visible as soon as they are generated, although you can set Mentimeter not to display responses if preferred. Microsoft Office 365 allows you to download a plugin to allow you to embed Mentimeter responses directly into your PowerPoint presentations.
Simple bar chart representation of responses using Mentimeter - other outputs are possible
Response times to questions in your presentation can be paced either by the presenter or the audience - i.e. you can give respondents only the time you feel is available in the session and then move on, or you can wait for them to complete the question each time. You can also download or export responses as .pdf or .xlsx files, but not in the free version.
When would you use it?
Students would use Mentimeter in group or individual presentation exercises or peer-teaching activities. Teaching Staff would find it a simpler alternative to more complex formative feedback tools such as Turning Point. The ubiquity of mobile phone technology takes away the need for 'clickers' - every audience member in possession of at least a smartphone should be able to interact with Mentimeter.
This video gives a simple overview of the basic functions and features of Mentimeter;
Here's a more in-depth webinar introduction to the features and functions of Mentimeter;
Where can I access it?
Mentimeter is available from their website. The basic version is free, but as stated above, this only allows the use of three questions in a Presentation and doesn't allow answers/responses to be downloaded or exported. If you pay a small monthly fee (around £6) you can add unlimited questions and download/export responses. A premium fee even allows you apply your own branding.
The beauty of Mentimeter is its simplicity - easy to get started and to launch, with no software to download or install. Downside is that the free version is a little limited in what you are able to do
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