I've previously written about Shakespeak, a tool that allows presenters to collect and display responses to open-ended and multiple choice questions via text, web, and Twitter. One of our readers, April Edmonds let me know that she has used an alternate polling app for her PowerPoint presentations, Poll Everywhere. I decided to give Poll Everywhere a try.
The concepts (as well as methods for audience participation) of both apps are very similar. After using both applications, I think they are solid choices if you're in the market for a polling feature to add to your PowerPoint presentations. The main difference between the two is that with Shakespeak you do the bulk of setup from within PowerPoint, whereas with Poll Everywhere, most of this is done on the Poll Everywhere website.
With Poll Everywhere, your multiple choice and open ended questions are created on www.polleverywhere.com. Working within the website you can hover over your created poll to change the settings, including the general look and feel. There is a decent amount of customization you can do, but since you are not editing it within PowerPoint (as you would be with Shakespeak), some developers may find it hard to get the poll to exactly match the design of the rest of the presentation. That being said, I fiddled around with the settings options and found that I was able to get it pretty darn close. There is also an option to add in a logo, so don't worry, you can brand that puppy to your heart's content.
After completing your poll and tweaking the design, you can either download, copy and paste the slide into your PowerPoint presentation, share it on Facebook, Tweet it, add it to your blog or web page, email it, or download it for Prezi presentations. While I do prefer Shakespeak's direct integration into PowerPoint from a design stand point, I think Poll Everywhere's ease in sharing across multiple platforms makes it a really great alternative. Which of the two is the better option really depends on what you plan to do with the polls you create.
Poll Everywhere is free at an introductory level. If, however, you would like to poll an audience larger than 40, moderate responses, or customize how people vote, you'll need to pay for the service. Click here for pricing plans.
AJ teaches a live, 3-hour class that offers tips/tricks for improving the look and feel of your PowerPoint presentations: Slide Sprucing: Remodeling Lackluster PowerPoint Slides for eLearning and Presentations.