Surveys, polls and quizzes in (digital) educational settings: alternatives to Doodle
Surveys and didactics
Digital teaching via Zoom or similar can quickly become passive and monotonous. In order to avoid the transfer of frontal teaching into the digital format and to reduce the inhibition threshold for participation in digital teaching, survey tools can be integrated as didactic means in the common video conferencing tools. These can be used flexibly and are a simple means of activating learners. Classically, surveys are used in teaching for knowledge or opinion polling. Thus, with the help of online or live surveys, knowledge can be checked or opinions can be obtained in real time in the classroom. This form of interactivation is particularly suitable offline and online for involving the large group or the plenum. The process is simple: surveys can be created and enabled in advance or live in the session, and respondents answer by clicking a link or QR code via smartphone or computer. In the process, the video conference management can decide whether voting should be anonymous or whether the names of the participants should be visible to everyone or only to themselves. The results of the poll are output in real time. In addition, polling tools can be used in class or course scheduling or to help assign topics for assignments, presentations or papers. Real-time questioning via a Twitter wall also provides a nice change of pace. Formats such as Tweedback digitally collect questions that lecturers can respond to later. Keyword collections and ideas can be designed as digital card queries with tools such as Oncoo – this works very similarly to the analog collection of topics on moderation cards. When integrating survey tools, many instructors turn to Doodle.
Criticism of Doodle
Doodle seems to be a simple solution: Commonly known and easy to use. However, the platform is problematic in terms of data protection, because Doodle is based outside the EU. In the free Doodle account, surveys are not SSL-encrypted, i.e. personal data is transmitted transparently and not protected from external access. In addition, Doodle allows advertisements from Google (AdSense) in its surveys. So at the latest when it comes to use in a school context and the online safety of children and young people, it becomes critical. Therefore, in the following we present safe alternatives that are free and partly open. Note: Free and open are not necessarily the same thing.
The open source application Pingo was developed by the University of Paderborn and made available free of charge. Hosted in Germany, the tool can be used to create simple surveys to query the state of knowledge or gather feedback. Since it is a university project, the operators themselves also offer didactic advice here on how to best integrate the tool into teaching.
The survey tool LamaPoll can be used to create simple polls and polls as well as scheduling and scientific questionnaires. The service is DSGVO compliant and does not collect IP addresses or other personal data.
The non-tracking survey tool Nuudel is offered free of charge by the non-profit association Digitalcourage e.V. and can be used primarily for opinion polls and voting. Nuudel is based on the free software Framadate and runs on the association’s hardware. Server and software are protected from external access and no IP addresses are stored, only the answers in the polls. Registration is not required and instead of an email address, anything can be typed in.
The survey tool Tweedback can also be used anonymously, since users do not have to register with an e-mail address and no IP addresses are permanently stored. Instead, only the most necessary data is stored on servers located in Germany. In the basic version, Tweedback offers the functions chatwall, quiz and panic button.
We have explained these functions in more detail in a tutorial on YouTube. In it, we introduce you to the survey tools Tweedback, Pingo and Kahoot! and compare them based on their scope of use, GDPR compliance and possible uses.
You’d rather get an overview yourself? In our toolbox you can compare the survey tools mentioned and many more and filter them by different features.