SMS Education: Poll Everywhere Is Making the Mobile Pop Quiz More Affordable

Mobile Messenger and Poll Everywhere are rolling out a new initiative to reach students where they spend a large chunk of their time anyway–on cell phones.

cell phones


Over 40% of students text during class and 80% say they’ve never been caught. That sounds like a bit of a quandary for teachers, but not for much longer: Teachers can now hijack students’ cell phones for educational purposes, including testing, homework assignments, quizzes, and more.

Poll Everywhere, which specializes in instant audience feedback via text messaging, and Mobile Messenger, a technology solutions group that partners with carriers, have partnered to develop affordable, educational SMS programs. Instead of barking at students to put their phones away, teacher can instead ask them to whip out the phones for a flash quiz during class. Over 2,000 K-12 educators have signed up for the service already.

As we reported last April, new studies and pilot projects show smartphones can actually make kids smarter, and as a result major foundations are zeroing in on handhelds for preschool and the primary grades. Google, Nokia, Palm, and Sony have all begun supplying handheld devices for
teaching. And thousands of new mobiles–not just smartphones but also
ever-shrinking computers–have come into use at schools in the United
States and around the world just in the past year.


“Student Response Systems typically cost $1,200 per classroom,” Poll Everywhere CEO Jeff Vyduna tells Fast Company. “But by using student cell phones we can now provide this type of
technology for $50 per year.”

This particular classroom initiative will focus on the U.S., but don’t
think that means the rest of the world isn’t eligible.
“While we serve over 100 countries, this rollout of new pricing and
education features thanks to the Mobile Messenger partnership applies to
the U.S.,” says Vyduna.

Mobiles are relatively affordable and low-tech, which means they may just be the education technology of the future. So forget One Laptop Per Child; mobile phones to the rescue!


[Image: flickr user compujeramey]


About the author

Jenara is an overseas reporter for Fast Company and a freelance writer/producer in Asia, regularly on CNNGo, and a graduate of Harvard and UC Berkeley.


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