Socrative: A quick and easy way to obtain immediate student feedback during class

3 Sep


Quick overview: Socrative is a “student response system” that allows teachers to poll students and obtain immediate feedback throughout a class lecture. Socrative works on any computer, smartphone, or tablet. What I like best about Socrative is that there’s a VERY low learning curve for both teachers and students. It’s also easy to get up and running on a moment’s notice. This tool comes very highly recommended. Free!

How can I use this in my classroom? This tool is best used for formative assessment purposes during a lecutre. Using Socrative, you can ask your students to respond to a short answer question, multiple choice, or true/false question on their computer or mobile device while you are teaching.

How does it work? Let’s say something tricky comes up and you’d like to measure your students understanding during class. Simply ask your question out loud or write it down on the blackboard. There’s no need to touch a computer. Next, use Socrates to send a poll to your students from your teacher computer. Your students will either be prompted to write in a short answer or select either A,B, C, or D from their mobile device or lab computer screen.  As the different responses come in (which can be anonymous) they’ll be displayed to the rest of the class. Even if you’re someone who’s not too comfortable with technology, it literally takes seconds to setup and initiate a poll:socrtiveOther neat features: After class, you can choose to export results to a spreadsheet. If you’d prefer to prepare a detailed quiz in advance, you can import saved quizzes too. If any inappropriate short answers are submitted during class, they can be immediately deleted by the teacher by clicking on the “red x” next to student’s answer.

Benefits and limitations: Any old computer will do, there’s no need for fancy hardware for you or the students. There’s minimal to no preparation needed (i.e. – you don’t need to prepare any quizzes in advance) which is great for impromptu teaching moments. Accounts are not needed for students to use the tool either. Please keep in mind that you need to be in a room with computers (i.e. – school lab) or have a set of Internet enabled tablets or smartphones available. In my opinion, Socrative is great tool to use in a BYOD classroom, but always remember that if students use their own devices, they should be on the school’s wifi or they can incur data charges to participate.

One last thing: I firmly believe that this tool should NOT be used for summative assessment purposes but rather to get authentic feedback from your students as you go along. Have fun! (Source: Rob Zdrojewski’s “Using to Engage Your Students” ISTE 2013, San Antonio)