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J.S. Artal-Sevil, E. Romero, J.M. Artacho

University of Zaragoza (SPAIN)
During the last years mobile-related hardware and software has been largely increased in extension, quality and power. Social nets as Facebook, Twiter, Instagram, Whatsapp, etc. have been really common among the young people. In the education field the teacher can think if he or she can use those facts in a way to increase the students attention and engagement in class. Why do not use the high mobile skills these students possess?

Not only smartphones but also tablets, e-books and laptops are able to be employed at classroom. But the question that now arises is: How? Every student carries his or her smartphone every time while other devices as tablets or laptops are less used, so the teacher is impelled to find a way to preferably utilize the mobile phones. An interesting manner to get this purpose is to use them to make quick questions in class. Traditional questions answered by rising hands do not result in a large participation of students, mainly due to their shyness, and also some students may look at the response of ‘the smart’ ones to do the same. These facts make the traditional method as not representative at all for the class.

The surveys made through smartphones, as opposite, can be anonymous, and every student can answer directly and quickly. In this paper are presented some free-software destined to develop anonymous surveys and polls in classroom. This allows to increase the participation and motivation of the students. The results of the answers can be visualized in the classroom. Therefore both, teacher and students, have an immediate feedback.

Different software programs can be used to make quick surveys or questions. They can be divided into three groups. One is the ‘slim’ software: basic question and answer (Q&A) systems that are very interesting for really quick use. Some examples are ‘DirectPoll’, ‘Pollmaker’, ‘Survio’, or ‘SurveyMonkey’. Some on-line software need more access data, for example: ‘Google-Form’, ‘Doodle’. The last group is the ‘robust’ software: programs with higher skills in Q&A, more sophisticated and able to carry out more exhaustive polls or surveys, with more options to prepare, control and data collect and expose. They usually must be previously downloaded for a better and quicker running. Examples of them are ‘Socrative’ and ‘Kahoot’. Its application in the classroom has also been described, from the teacher's viewpoint.

Whatever the program to be used, one important fact is the cost of it. Free software is preferred, especially from the student view. All cited examples have free versions able to do the main objectives a teacher can need in the classroom: an only question, a sofisticated survey, a complex poll… The present study reflects an experience carried out with Engineering students. The advantages and drawbacks of each of them are shown. Student engagement and attention have gained by the using of these methods. Students positively value this series of activities related to the Flipped Classroom pedagogical approach.