In-Class Polling Technology to Foster Interactive Learning

Explore the toggles below to learn about the best practices for implementing polling in your course, as well as guides for setting up iClicker, and information on various polling technologies.

How to set-up iClicker at UCLA

Setting up iClicker

CEILS Guide to Setting Up iClicker – Updated Jan 2017

CCLE instructions for adding an iclicker block to your course site

For assistance contact our iClicker representatives:

Kristin Strong:

Why should I use peer instruction to make my class more interactive?

In this video, Harvard Physics Professor Eric Mazur shares the story of the moment he realized his outstanding teaching reviews were not actually resulting in the student learning outcomes he believed he was achieving – a harsh wake-up call that led him to discover the teaching strategy he named “peer instruction”.

What is peer instruction? Peer instruction refers to the practice of students learning through discussion with peers.

Why use peer instruction? It is one of the most research-validated forms of active learning; the “Research” tab at this AAPT link includes a long list of studies supporting the practice.

How does in-class polling technology facilitate peer instruction?

What are the best practices for using in-class polling technology to facilitate peer instruction?

This video showcases some of the best practices and researched education theory for implementing polling technology in the classroom.


Clicker Resource Guide

Writing Great Questions for Peer Instruction

Thought Questions- A New Approach to Using Clickers Teresa Foley & Pei-San Tsai

Flow Chart for Using Polling Technology for Peer Instruction (from Vickrey et al. 2015)

Niemeyer & Zewail-Foote (2018, Journal of Chemical Education) found that compared to men, women had significantly higher perceptions of the benefits of clickers and their ability to increase student engagement.

Want even more information? The Carl Wieman Science Education Initiative has a great collection of polling tool resources.

Polling applications for smart phones and other devices

Interested in alternative polling tools to i>clicker?

There are several free or low-cost polling tools for your smart phone or other electronic device. Note that some UCLA faculty have reported experiencing wi-fi issues when trying to use these online polling applications (i>clicker uses radio frequency rather than a wi-fi signal and thus bypasses this issue). That being said, if you opt to try an alternative polling system, please test the online application prior to use in a specific classroom, especially if implementing the technology in a large class.  Note that we also suggest using these online polling tools at workshops and conferences — they provide an excellent way to make your seminar talks interactive!

Here are some polling tool alternatives to i>clicker:

  • ABCD Card App for Smartphones
    • Visit and download app from iTunes or Google Play.
    • Developed by Western Washington University, this simple app allows students to project a bright selected choice (ABCD?) on their phone and hold up for you to see.
  • Socrative
    • Visit to learn more about the tool and its features, view a demo, create an account, and see pricing options for a PRO account.
  • Online Polling Tool (OPT)
  • Poll Everywhere
  • Kahoot!
    • Visit to access the tool and see a video showing the various learning environments where this tool has been used.
  • Plickers
  • Mentimeter

Tech-Free voting cards for student polling


We recommend using iClicker software if possible in order to not only view student responses, but also to be able to analyze the results of your polling by individual student or the class as a whole and award participation points.

However, if you would prefer a non-technology option or want to provide non-technology options to your TAs for their discussion sections, you can use these voting cards. Either print them for students or ask students to print (in color!) and bring one to all classes.

These cards can be folded and held up during class as you ask multiple choice questions.

Video Example: Active Learning with Polling