Three Tech Tools to Collect and Analyze Student Interest Data

By Jeremy Rinkel on August 15, 2011
  • Grades: 9–12

Our classroom and teaching strategies must be student focused. Maintaining a positive teacher and student relationship is very important. According to Jim Burke in his book The Teacher's Essential Guide Series: Classroom Management, "the student-teacher relationship is the cornerstone of an engaging, successful classroom." To build relationships with my students, I first need to know them. Talking with them in the hallways and at lunch is a start, but I need to know what they enjoy and what their strengths and weaknesses are in the classroom. Using "icebreaker" activities gives me some perspective on their personality, but doesn't tell me if a student enjoys reading or knows how to use various technologies. I have used paper and pencil surveys, but it is very time consuming to collect and analyze the data. However, I have found three time saving tech tools to collect and analyze student interest data.


Survey Monkey

Survey Monkey is a web-based survey tool that collects data and gives real-time results. I have used Survey Monkey to collect student information and also to gather students' feelings on particular issues about novels.  Survey Monkey has four plans. I use the basic plan (no cost) which allows you 10 questions and up to 100 responses.  Depending on the number of students I have from year to year, I have to create the same poll twice.  Survey Monkey not only calculates the votes, but allows you to create a variety of charts and graphs with your data.Surveymonkeyscreenshot  The basic package has limitations, but if you do not want to spend any money, it is fine.  You are able to send the link to responders, embed your survey on a website, and even put the survey into Facebook.  Survey Monkey is a great tech tool to use to collect and analyze student interest data.


Polleverywhere is another great tool to collect and analyze student data. Using Polleverywhere may be a little more difficult in your classroom, if your school bans the use of cellphones during the school day. I experiemented with cellphone use in a couple of my class sessions last year. Cellphones can be a distraction, so it is important to have a clear policy in place if you plan to use them as a tool in your classroom. Classroom 2.0's Ning Group Cellphones in Education is a useful resource regarding the use of cell phones in education. I found two great handouts discussing the importance of parental communication. The " Dear Parent" document is a letter asking for parental permission for the student to use a cellphone for classroom purposes. The "cellphone survey" is a survey to see the plan the student has so you can gauge what activities you will be able to conduct in your class.   Using Polleverywhere allows for multiple choice and short answer Screenshotpolleveresponses to questions.  It also allows for moderation of comments before they show up on the presenters screen. Students can respond in real-time to your question and the results are collected instantly. A basic polleverywhere account (no cost) allows for 30 responders per question. Students can also respond to the polleverywhere questions via text message, through a widget on a webpage, and even through Twitter. Polleverywhere provides a great option to collect and analyze your student interest data with mobile devices. 


Mimio Vote  

I am very fortunate to use the student response system Mimio Vote in my classroom this year.  Not only will it give my students immediate feedback on quizzes and tests, but Mimio Vote will collect and analyze student data immediately.  Each of the handheld devices are numbered and can be assigned to students. The results are recorded into a gradebook. Mimio Vote will save me hours of time reading through and recording data.  My Reading and Technology Survey contains 30 questions.  The data from this survey will give me insight into the reading and technology habits of my students.  The technology data will aid in the planning of activities. 

Download a pdf of my Reading and Technology Use survey.

What methods or tools do you use to collect and analyze student interest data?  I look forward to hearing from you. 



Thanks for sharing this valuable tool.

You can also try survey tool powered by dotSurvey agency. It's free and perfectly clear to users. They have nice Copycat tool that helps your survey to look exactly like your website.

Angela, Thanks for your comment. I have heard great things about Edmodo, but haven't taken the time to explore it. I've never heard of Flubaroo, but I see real value in seeing what question students may be having an issue with. Thanks for sharing these tools with us.

Joe, Great to "see" you on here. Feel free to share your insight on things. I totally agree with you that Polleverywhere is a great tool.

Poll Everywhere is a great tool from a great company. I highly recommend it.

If you create quizzes (content) in Google Docs that are multiple choice, you can run a script called Flubaroo which was created by a teacher and shared for free. This script will score the responses and flag troublesome questions. It is a little tricky to use at first, but saves a lot of time! My students (5th grade) also enjoy using Edmodo which helps me build relationships through some conversations. They like the "Facebook" style of the site, but I can monitor communication so it is safe. Thank you for sharing these sites!


Thank you for your comment. Also, thank you for posting an example of your survey in Google Docs. Google Docs provides many useful tools that I plan to address in a future post. Best of luck on a successful school year.


Thank you for the great post! I agree! Taking these types of inventories is really important to build classroom relationships and get to know students. Google Docs is also a great, FREE way to get this done. You can create any type of survey question, imbed it in a website or wiki, then get all of the information displayed nicely in a spreadsheet. Below is an example of one that I use during the first week of school. Thank you again!

Post a Comment
(Please sign in to leave a comment. Privacy Policy)
RSS Subscribe ButtonSign up to get these great teaching ideas delivered automatically.Subscribe now >