Last October, at the Statewide IT Conference in Bloomington, Brad Wheeler, one of the best presenters that I have ever had the privilege of watching, took questions from the crowd via Smartphone. I didn’t think much about it at the time, but yesterday, when I saw an advertisement for a new cloud-based application called sli.do, I wondered if that was what Brad had used during his presentation.
I decided to check out this application to see if it might be useful for the trainers in our department.
First, I went to sli.do’s website at http://www.sli.do/.
The website says that this application can “…increase audience engagement and satisfaction, while gaining priceless insights in the process.” Since we’re always looking for ways to increase engagement and satisfaction, I decided to take a closer look.
I started by clicking on the How it works link at the top of the page to get an overview of the product. From this web page, I learned that sli.do makes it possible for presenters to do the following:
- take the top questions from an audience and display them on a screen in real-time
- instantly poll an audience and display the results in real-time
- moderate which questions and results will be displayed
Next, I decided to give sli.do a test run, so I went back to the home page and clicked on the green Create Event button. A Sign-up window appeared. I put in my email address and I created a password, and I agreed to the terms & conditions.
The Create an event dialog box opened.
I typed in a name, date, and location for my event. I noticed that links for the audience and presentation views were listed at the bottom of the window, so I jotted the URLs down. Then I clicked on the Start button.
From the menu bar, I clicked on Polls. When I did, the text in the boxes on my screen changed slightly. Now the white box says “Polls” instead of “Incoming Questions.”
Next, I clicked on the blue Create poll + button from the box on the left and an Edit item dialog box appeared.
I typed a question into the first field, and then I used the drop-down arrow at the end of the second field to select Multiple answers.
I typed my first answer into the Add option box, and when I did, another answer field appeared. I typed in the rest of my answers in the same way. When done, I clicked on the Save button. I then created several more questions. When finished, all of my questions were listed on the left side of the screen.
So far, so good. Now I was ready to display a question so an audience would be able to read it and respond. I clicked on the gray Show button next to the first question and selected without results.
The question appeared in the black box on the right side of the screen.
Next, I clicked on the Presentation view link at the top of the page. The question filled the screen, and a URL was displayed at the top.
If I was hooked up to a projector, this is the view that I would want to display for a live audience. They could read the question, and then type the URL into their personal device (Smartphone, tablet, ipad, etc.)
Now I was ready to switch gears and take on the role of an audience member. I logged into another computer and navigated to the URL shown at the top of the screen. I also opened up the link on my Smartphone, so I could test it as well. I could see the question on both devices.
I selected my answer and clicked on the blue Send button. This process worked well from my desktop computer and from my Smartphone.
I returned to the machine that I was using to broadcast this poll and used the tabs at the top of the browser window to return to the Poll window. I clicked on the SHOW RESULTS button on the right side of my screen to show the answers that had been submitted.
I clicked on the other Show buttons to display additional questions and results. I noticed that when I clicked on the button to Show a question, a voting button appeared, allowing me to enable or disable voting. In addition, the number of votes that had been received so far was listed just above the question.
After experimenting with the questions displayed in the Polls box, I realized that I could rearrange the order of the questions by pointing to the small icon that appears in front of the question (3 short, horizontal lines), and then pressing and dragging the question to another position in the list.
Everything worked as expected, and I found the application extremely easy to use.
While I had the test window open, I decided to try out the “Questions” feature as well. I clicked on the Questions link in the top left corner, and my screen changed. Now, instead of a Polls box on the left, I had an Incoming Questions box.
I noticed that there was a Moderation check box in the top left corner of the window, and it was currently checked. Obviously, this is a safety feature that allows presenters to see the questions that are submitted before displaying them.
Since I wanted to see what it would look like if someone submitted a question to me, I used my Smartphone to send a question. After typing it in the yellow box and clicking on the Send button, a blue “Congratulations” message appeared, and asked if I wanted to add my name to the question. I typed it in the Name field and clicked the Add button.
When I returned to my main computer, I could now see the question that I had submitted on the left side of the screen.
From here, it was easy to see how this would work. When I received a question, I would be able to see it in the panel on the left. I would need to decide if I wanted to share this question with the audience. Next, I would point to the question and additional options would become available:
If I want to display the question, I can click on the yellow check mark button. If I want to delete it, I can click on the red X, and if I want to edit it, I can click on the pencil icon.
I tested this feature and it worked just as expected. As soon as I made it visible, I could see it on my other two devices.
Lastly, I looked at pricing for sli.do. There are 3 packages available: ENJOY is free, PRO costs $339, and PREMIUM is $699. The ENJOY package provides audience interaction, moderated Q&A, instant polls, and moderated Tweets, but the data is always public. People can join in your sessions for free and will be able to see all of the interaction.
The PRO and PREMIUM packages have a feature that make it possible for you to hide your event from search results and to restrict who can access your event. You can add branding, and you can promote the event using sponsors on the interactive wall.
With the PREMIUM package, you can let your attendees connect with each other, see detailed engagement analytics by users, include a list of presentations (including description, speaker info, and ratings), and share slides with your audience. For more information about the different packages, go to https://www.sli.do/pricing.
While I have not yet used this application during a presentation, I plan on doing so as soon as an opportunity arises. The program is easy to use, and it is compatible with smart phones, ipads, and other mobile devices. It is sure to make presentations more interactive and fun!