Check This Out: A Comparison of Audience Response Systems

Check This Out: A Comparison of Audience Response Systems


During the recent months we've seen, um, a surge in classroom response systems. In past years they may have been fondly remembered as clickers. (Unlikely.) But 2012 finds schools and organizations not particularly keen on forking over big bucks for clunky devices used only for answering multiple-choice questions, especially as schools relax restrictions on BYOD policies and students are showing up for class ready to click on devices of their own.

The basic idea of clickers sound simple enough: flash a question on the screen and get near-instantaneous results. But beneath that basic functionality are a number of critical features and differences amongst systems: Does a system support only SMS or web browsers? Can you set up mini-games and competitions? How reliable is the support staff?

What's more, the pricing plans from the different vendors have been as diverse as flora in the rainforest: you might wind up paying per student, per class, per poll, per month, or according to some other scheme.

To this end, the cheeky fellas at SF-based Poll Everywhere are sharing something that customers may find useful: a side-by-side comparison between its service and others in the same space: Socrative, Top Hat Monocle,, ClickerSchool, Text The Mob, and Shakespeak. Based on data collected throughout 2012, the chart covers pricing, branding, reliability/experience, support, ways to respond, visualizations, reports, partner integrations, APIs, and a gaggle of functionality features,  And that's just the start; each of these areas are covered in exhaustive details. It's a relief that one can sort by features that the company considers important to educators.

Poll Everywhere proudly states that "we can afford honest transparency because we're one of the better products out there."

Still, it is fair to note that he who makes up the criteria usually shines. We haven't heard yet from the other players; they may well have features that make them stand out in difference use cases. It's a bold opening salvo by Poll Everywhere, which admits that "we don't win on every feature, and we're no longer always the cheapest." Being upfront is commendable--and even more so that it "expects to be called out publically if something is incorrect."

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