As seems to be the norm at the moment, I have been finding all sorts of useful tools on the internet. I found Socrative on a list of Web 2.0 tools. Although we have SMART response in school, I have only had a brief training session on them and need to learn how to use them. Socrative seemed to be similar, but without the fuss. One of the things I liked about Socrative was that I could set things up at home and use them in school.
I have completed three trials with Socrative, with a range of different classes to explore how it works and also how the classes respond to it.
My first trial was a quiz on ‘Of Mice and Men’ for my top set Year 10 class. As Socrative can be used on iPhones, Android as well as via 3G and on PC I thought I would try allowing the pupils to use their own mobile devices. As this was the first time I had used this, I tried to keep the task as simple as possible.
The students were very keen to use their phones, but not all could access this – even students with the same types of phone. In the end, they got into groups with someone with a device that worked and completed the quiz that way. They enjoyed the task and being able to show them who had responded was useful. Even more useful was the option on Socrative to download an Excel spreadsheet of the results, allowing the teacher to review the responses.
Due to the technical issues, I decided not to carry on using the program during the lesson.
For the second lesson, I tried the program using a class set of laptops. I planned two tasks – a quiz and an Exit Ticket. It was much quicker loading up the program on the laptops and generally the program worked well, but for the reasons outlined below we only did the quiz.
I encountered two main difficulties, firstly the randomise answers option seemed to move the answers but not which one was correct, so students were marked wrong for correct answers. The second problem was really down to my choice of class. This was a group of Year 10 students who I see once a fortnight. I thought that they would enjoy the change of task, but in retrospect my relationship with the group was not good enough to trial something new. However, several students did say that they had enjoyed using the program.
My most recent trial was with my Y12 Film Studies class. I decided to use the quiz tool as a starter and to assess whether the group had been covering the revision topics they had been given. Using the downloadable Excel template, I created a 20 question multiple choice quiz. The template was very simple to use, allowing me to write the quiz and check it belore uploading it to Socrative.The feedback form would show me student responses, allowing me to make revision tasks more targeted.
I also decided to use the Exit Ticket tool. This asks students:
- How well did you understand today’s material?
- What did you learn today? – very useful to check that what we think a class are learning and what they think they are learning are the same!
- Please solve the problem on the board – a final plenary question
- There is also an option to pass the Exit Ticket to another student, great if they need to share a device.
With an iPad it is very straightforward, as the App sits on the desktop and one click allows the student to login, unfortunately for me, we don’t have them so my trial was done on laptops.
The Y12s reacted very well to the quiz, they enjoyed it and the whole class found it easy to login.
The Exit Ticket was the best part, each student worked through the prompts and identified the areas they felt they needed more work on. This was very simple to view through the Excel feedback form – I could see at a glance who was confident and which specific areas needed more work.
Socrative is an excellent program, currently free as it is in the beta testing phase. It has some very useful features and is simple to use. Definitely worth a try.