December 9, 2020

10 Ideas for Engaging Students with Google Meet Polls

Julie Jensen

Learning and Innovation Manager


Combining Polls with some creative planning, teachers can check for understanding, offer real-time feedback, and identify topics that need more instruction.

Google Meet has quickly become the go-to virtual learning platform for G Suite for Education and G Suite Enterprise for Education (GSEfE) districts.  However, engaging students in a virtual meeting can be a challenge.  Google Meet has options to increase engagement with and among students. 

Using Polls to engage students is one example. Polls is one of the premium features in G Suite Enterprise for Education (GSEfE) users. 

A Poll in Google Meet starts with the teacher posting a poll question with multiple-choice options.  Teachers can set up any number of Poll questions with choices as soon as they enter the Google Meet or create them on-the-fly during instruction.  Students reply with a simple click of their choice and “Vote” to submit their choice.  Combining Polls with some creative planning, teachers can check for understanding, offer real-time feedback, and identify topics that need more instruction.

Laptop with video call showing on computer

Planning on purpose and practicing with using Polls for both the teacher and students can quickly make Polls just something you do. 

10 Tips and Tricks

Listed below are some tips and ideas to lead more engaging, productive, and enjoyable meeting experiences: 

  1. As soon as teachers start a Google Meeting (before students enter), they can prepare a list of Poll questions that are ready to launch during class.
  2. Set up about 3 Poll questions to use at the beginning, middle, and toward the end of class.  This will help involve students throughout the meeting while the teacher gains experience using Polls.  
  3. Starting each class meeting with a Poll question can serve as a signal to students that instruction is about to start.  Ending with a Poll question can serve as an exit ticket to check for understanding.
  4. Already know what you want to ask, but you want to be spontaneous with the answer choices based on the live discussion?  You can create these on-the-fly or you can prepare early.  Simply type the question, fill the choices with “jiberish” place holders, and save this question among the other Poll questions in your list.  When the time is right during your discussion with students, only edit the answer choices and then launch the question.
  5. If a “brain break” is typically needed about 20 minutes into instruction, plan for an off-topic Poll question followed by a Poll question to steer students back on topic.  
  6. Would you rather questions lend themselves well to Polls by offering a “choose your own learning adventure” as well as student voice and choice of their learning.  Examples: 
    1. Would you rather travel to Europe or Asia?  (The next unit can be the popular choice.)
    2. Would you rather read the book or watch the movie? (Even though they will be reading the book, knowing students like movies based on the books they are reading would allow the teacher time to find movie trailers or movie clips to add to instruction while reading the book.)
    3. Would you rather start with math or reading today? (Start with the popular choice.)
  7. In real-time, the display of results are anonymous.  However, after the meeting ends, the teacher will get a spreadsheet sent to their email that includes: names of students participating, each question, and their choices.  
  8. From the spreadsheet, teachers can identify students who are not showing understanding or participating to clear up misconceptions and/or coach confidence for increased participation.
  9. Teachers can use the spreadsheet from one day to form Breakout rooms for another day.  Example:  On Monday, you post a Poll to the students about which landform they find most fascinating.  Use the results to organize students for Breakout rooms on Tuesday.  On Tuesday, select the number of Breakout Rooms and organize the students according to their interests. 
  10. Teachers do not have to do all of the thinking!  Offer students an opportunity to create polling questions.  Create a Google Form to collect their ideas. 

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