If you attended the Annual Council on Saturday morning, you were invited to take part in something new for the Diocese of Virginia: the Interactive Info Session.

We figured that, with hundreds of clergy and lay leaders in the room, it was the perfect opportunity to gather some information in a way that was hopefully energizing and thought-provoking.

So, we put on our thinking hats and put together a list of questions. Then we posed those questions to members of Council, giving folks the opportunity to text responses and see the results displayed in real time.


IMG_2021What was the point of such an exercise? We wanted to get folks talking and thinking, while supplying staff with some data that’s helpful as we move forward in strengthening our priorities and our congregations. And the information we gathered was pretty interesting. Of the electronic responses, for example, 58% of respondents said that the ministry goal of Mission Beyond Ourselves generates the most excitement in their congregations. Over half of the respondents use Facebook and Twitter daily or a few times a week for their congregations’ ministries – while 14% never do. And 5% of our audience claims to contact diocesan staff and bishops so frequently that they have us on speed dial!

That’s just a quick recap of some of the highlights of our findings – but stay tuned for a more thorough report-back.

In the meantime, we’ve received several questions about the technology that made this possible. The service we used is called Poll Everywhere. It’s an easy-to-use, Web-based program that is available for a monthly subscription based on the number of responses per poll. So, for example, if you anticipate having 250 or fewer responses, then you pay $65/month. If you’ll be using the poll for a one-time event, then you simply subscribe and pay for one month of service. And for polls with fewer than 40 responses, the platform is free.

Learn more at polleverywhere.com.

IMG_1999  IMG_1988

Here are just a few of the lessons we learned:

  • Allow plenty of time for discussion. At Council, we were a bit limited in this regard, and found that folks could have used more time at their tables to share feedback and responses.
  • Find a way to accommodate folks who don’t have texting capabilities.
  • Provide a mix of multiple choice and open-ended response questions.
  • Practice before hand to ensure smooth operations!

Update 2/7/14: Results are now available online at thediocese.net/Stretch/Info/.

Photos: Rock Higgins and Megan-Drew Tiller

Posted by The Diocese

One Comment

  1. I use a very free app in teaching that is similar. It’s called Socrative. In this context you would be the “instructor” and those you were polling would be the “students.” There’s a web version too that’s also free. Anyone with a wifi connection could respond as a student. Likewise “the instructor” uses a projector to display results in real time. Results can be saved in spreadsheet form


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