Got a Droid?
Got a Mac?
Whatever you have, the free, multi-platform student response system, Socrative.com will use any of these. Did you spend $3000 on Activotes or other student “clicker” systems? Well, you could have simply used those laptop carts, those iPads, a desktop computer, or asked your students to bring their own device and fired up Socrative.
For the past few years, I’ve simply used laptops or desktops with a combination of Google Forms or Polleverywhere.com. However, there are positives and negatives to these free options. For Google Forms, having students use multiple devices never seemed streamlined. Sure you could fill out a Google Form on an iPod Touch to use as a quick response, but if you want to streamline the process, you might have to create a shortlink from TinyURL.com. Google Forms is still a very broad tool- not optimized specifically for the classroom. As for Polleverywhere, a teacher is limited in the number of responses they can get (40 for classroom size), so I’ve always run into the problem on the free account of getting too many responses. As a middle school teacher, sometimes I wanted to poll all of my students from the entire day, and I’d have to create multiple polls on the same questions. Again, although Polleverywhere did add educator accounts, I don’t feel the tool is optimized for educators.
Now, it’s Socrative’s turn. With the recent news of Kindle being available to read on any device, as well as Kno.com, with textbooks being available to read on Facebook, the iPad, or the web in multiple formats, Socrative follows the recent trend of democratizing the web for all users and platforms.
So how does it work? How do you use Socrative in your classroom? Well, for starters you can sign up. Socrative is in private beta, but they’ll open the doors pretty quickly. But for our purposes now, let’s try it out right here.
First thing you have to remember- there’s a lecturer’s console and a student’s console. The lecturer opens up a room, which is used for students to “log in,” very much like Edmodo.com uses group codes for students to sign up. I love that kind of ease of use. Once the lecturer “chooses an activity” the student portal will prompt for names and start asking questions. On the lecturer’s side, they can get live polling data, as the students begin to answer questions.
Another thing you should remember: you can take the time to create an entire quiz inside Socrative, or you can simply ask your students one multiple-choice or true/false question, perhaps to start a lesson and Socrative will allow them to choose A,B,C,D,or E – no real setup involved.
Socrative has multiple ways to elicit feedback from your students:
- Multiple Choice: What you’d expect.
- True/False: What you’d expect.
- Short Answer: Fill in the blank
- Quick Quiz: Use your hand-crafted quizzes.
- Exit Ticket: End of class summaries that ask for some basic understanding of concepts.
- Space Race: Pit two or more teams against each other using one of your hand-crafted quizzes!
When initiating a quiz, you open a “room” inside Socrative. For my example, I created a room titled: EdReach1. So, as a student, if you go to m.socrative.com on any device, it will prompt you for your room number. Type in: EdReach1. Answer the question:
What is one of your favorite educators to follow on Twitter, Google Plus, or Facebook?
[I will keep this demo live for 1 day- however- I may have to close this room after 24 hours]
If my room is closed- simply go to Socrative.com and click on “Start Hands-On Demo.” Here you’ll find a sandbox of what the teacher’s and student’s console both look like. The hands-on demo takes a little trial and error, but once you get it, you understand how easy it is to hand out quizzes, ask for quick responses, get immediate feedback from students- with no super-long links, easy log in, and ease of use. Always just tell students to go to m.socrative.com.
I had a chance to talk with Amit Maimon, CEO and Co-Founder of Socrative. Knowing how difficult it is to build an educational start-up business, I asked him what his motivation was for doing so. His response was insightful:
I was a teacher’s assistant at MIT, and as I was teaching class I noticed 3 problems. Students were not engaged, were playing on their iPhone and I – as a teacher, did not have data telling me if they understood the material or not. On a grand scheme, my passion for education came from being raised in Israel and seeing the difference that education makes and the results of not being educated which can be seen on both sides of the conflict.
I hear his dilemma from teachers of all levels. How do we engage a growing student body that is bored, distracted, and otherwise yearning for more interaction in their classrooms? Frontline did a great piece last year addressing this issue. Colleges have it especially difficult because many professors don’t teach- they talk- and for students who are increasingly needing interaction, university professors have to start upping their game.
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures