Follow This Blog: RSS feed
Neverending Search
Inside Neverending Search

AnswerGarden a powerful, minimalistic feedback/brainstorming tool

Gathering quick feedback and initiating a brainstorm have never been easier.  AnswerGarden looks like what would happen if Twitter, TodaysMeet, Padlet and Wordle and Tagxedo had a little baby app.

Here’s a little introduction I pulled together.

AnswerGarden rightly describes itself as a minimalistic feedback tool. It takes under 10 minutes to master.

You can use this free tool to

  • brainstorm
  • poll
  • quiz
  • assess prior knowledge
  • gather opinions
  • as an exit ticket
  • to get feedback during a meeting, class, conference or presentation

It is easy to share your AnswerGardens on social media or to embed on a website, LibGuide, LMS, etc. Simply hit the plus (+) button to create an new AnswerGarden. Give your audience the URL, a QR code or an embedded box. You’ll be guided through setting up the controls for either a 20- or 40-character response, the duration of your poll, whether to moderate or not, adjusting local discoverability, and expanding to full screen, where your your AnswerGarden will automatically refresh every 7 seconds.

No login is required, but if you choose to share your email and a password, you can go back and edit the topic text or answers later on.

Responses display in the form of a dynamic word cloud, demonstrating the frequency of responses. If you hover over an answer, you can view its frequency–the number of times it has been submitted.

In addition to social media sharing, the data that form these word clouds may be exported to Wordle or Tagxedo. Doing this allows you to create an even more beautiful, static wordcloud to print or embed.

AnswerGarden Exported to Wordle - What makes you happy? AnswerGarden Exported to Tagxedo - What makes you happy?

You can set your AnswerGarden in any of four different modes.

  • Classroom Mode (the default), respondents can submit an unlimited number of answers, but may only submit each answer once.
  • Brainstorm Mode, respondents can submit an unlimited number of answers, including unlimited copies of the same answer. This mode is useful if you trust your audience.
  • Locked Mode, the AnswerGarden is closed and no new answers can be submitted. Use this if you’re not ready yet for a massive amount of answers and simply open it (set it to another mode) whenever you are!
  • Moderator Mode: a mode that redirects each answer to the AntiGarden (the shady side of your AnswerGarden, see an example). Via the admin panel you can approve only those answers you find appropriate. You do need a password for this option, which you should add when you create your AnswerGarden.

If you change your mind, you have the ability to go back and edit your choice of the mode as well as other settings.

Note: A spam filter option can detects and blocks common unwanted answers, including range of swearwords. You can remove unwanted answers using the Admin button if you provide a password when you set up your AnswerGarden. (I find that a class conversation before or after the first misstep tends to do the trick. The fun spoiler generally gets the message from his or her classmates.)

And there’s more:

MicroGarden offers a compact interface that links to an AnswerGarden. It is useful for blind polling, when you have limited space on a web page, and for embedding multiple questions on one page.

AnswerGarden recently launched a free iPad app that automatically detects AnswerGardens shared over local WIFI networks.

Check this Twitter search to see how others are using AnswerGarden.

Screen Shot 2016-08-12 at 11.55.53 AM






Joyce Valenza About Joyce Valenza

Joyce is an Assistant Professor of Teaching at Rutgers University School of Information and Communication, a technology writer, speaker, blogger and learner. Follow her on Twitter: @joycevalenza


  1. Mary Reilley-Clark says

    Thank you so much for sharing this, Joyce! We will be giving out textbooks Tuesday to our incoming 6th graders, and returning students the following two days. I will post a QR code to ask about summer reading. I also added an Answer Garden to my Google Classroom for our avid readers’ book club to let them plan the upcoming school year. And I will definitely be using this during orientation to get feedback on what I need to review or introduce. Your instructional video was very helpful! I love tools like this!

  2. Mary Reilley-Clark says

    Ooh, just thought of another use! Our teachers come back in a week–why not ask them what they want to see in this year’s professional development? I’m guessing it would look a lot different than what’s been already planned:>

  3. Joyce Valenza Joyce Valenza says

    Loving all your ideas, Mary!

Speak Your Mind