Wednesday, September 1, 2010

iTouch Success!

Every once in a while I have an idea that turns out as well as I envisioned it. Today was my lucky day.

Today was the first full day of school. In my 9th grade biology class I gave an overview of the year using PowerPoint. While I was talking about the various units, projects, and assignments for the year, I asked the students to complete a short survey using my iPod Touch.

I began by demonstrating how use the iTouch using my document camera. I took an informal poll and found that about 20% of my students have their own iTouch or iPhone and roughly 50% have used one before. This made things easier.

The day before I had setup a very simply survey using the Forms feature in Google Docs. This survey was only four questions and was designed to help me gauge the attitudes of my new students toward Biology. Google Forms play very well with the itouch making it a great combination.

After demonstrating how to take the survey, I passed my iTouch to the front row and let them pass it around the room while I lectured. I expected the students to have trouble restarting the form for each new person, accidentally pressing the home button, logging out of my Google Docs account, etc, but they didn't have any issues. The iTouch went around the room quickly and I was able to collect the data that I needed while reviewing my expectations for the year. It was a smashing success.

At the end of class I took a few minutes to show the students a summary of the responses. They thought the graphs charts were cool and enjoyed looking at the short response answers. I will be aggregating the data and assembling it into a infographic later this week.

I would like to give a shout out to my friend and fellow educator Kit Hard who demonstrated this idea at the MACUL conference in Grand Rapids. He inspired me to try it out and it was a success!

I can see the iTouch survey becoming a semi-regular part of my classroom. Here are some potential uses that I can envision, please help me come up with others!

  • Identification of review topics before a test
  • Collection of student birthdays
  • Survey of study habits
  • Collection of lab data from lab groups


  1. Thanks for the shout out, John. Here's a link to a very short video tutorial that I made which shows how to set the form up on your iPod touch. Have a great school year!

  2. I am assuming that you have a wifi connection to do this, yes?

  3. Yes, a wireless connection is required. You could do the same thing on an iPhone using the 3G connection as well.


Thanks for contributing to my blog. I enjoy being a part of the conversation and do my best to respond to comments and questions that are posted.