The Innovation: In-Class Polling for All Learners (IPAL)
In-class polling creates a more dynamic classroom experience. Students test their learning by answering real time questions about the current lesson; their responses provide instantaneous feedback to instructor, who alters the class’s pace and focus accordingly. However, not every classroom contains clickers or other responders.
IPAL offers a solution: a free Moodle module plug-in or a standalone program that turns a student’s laptop, tablet, smartphone (see screenshot above), or any web-enabled device into an in-class polling tool. Its user-friendly interface supports multiple-choice and free-response questions, and sends images to students automatically with the question text. Instructors write their own IPAL questions or access ready-to-use questions from the ComPADRE question databank.
Results Achieved: The Moodle organization designated the IPAL module as an approved module that can be added to the Moodle learning management system at any school.
Research shows that the greater student involvement obtained through polling increases student learning. SRI, the project evaluator, confirms IPAL’s positive impact on student participants’ outcomes. (See Figure).
Long term Goal: For the work funded originally by the grant to continue and to impact more and more students in the years to come.
The Grant Project:
Eckerd College received a grant in April 2011 from NGLC.
With its NGLC funding, Eckerd developed the IPAL Moodle in-class polling module and a bank of ready-to-use questions for an introductory physics course. The team disseminated project results at presentations and workshops.
Today, IPAL continues to expand. An important goal after the grant was for IPAL to be accepted as an official Moodle module and to have its functionality integrated into the Moodle core distribution. This was achieved in early 2015 with over 100 downloads in its first few months of availability. Additionally, versions now integrate with student response solutions, Apple iOS, and Android OS in addition to the original Moodle module. Adoption grows globally, most notably in France, Australia, Singapore, and the Czech Republic.