Primarily I used Socrative for the quiz feature. There are many different ways to use Socrative, in both traditional and non traditional ways. Even though this particular platform lends itself to a traditional model, the uses can be adapted to fit a less traditional approach.
From my experience with the app, employing it as a check in tool or even bell work as students enter the room is invaluable. A quick concept quiz can provide very useful information, and if you have a bank of multiple choice or true and false questions, the ease of use makes this tool one that every teacher should be aware of.
If you don’t have access to banked questions, and would like to try Socrative there is an extensive number of pre-made publicly available assessments in the Socrative Quiz Sharing site. Getting started with the program is supported by a great network of users on the Socrative Garden Site. Tips and Tricks abound, and the experiences of other teachers found on the Socrative Twitter page is also a great place to start or extend how you will use Socrative in the classroom.
This is where all the developers and programmers efforts, no matter, how thoughtful or well tested will meet their match. When analyzing a classroom teachers have an uncanny ability to see ways to use tools in manners for which they may never have been intended.
Take for example the Socrative space race. A great feature that races teams of unicorns, bumblebees, rockets…etc, across the screen while students answer questions. Really a great, way to engage kids for a while… but to be honest the novelty wears off in time. The first time we used this it was fun and new. However, before long the interest had faded and the novelty wore off. Yet the tool itself was still valuable…it needed a remix.
What we did was throw in a scavenger hunt component that required students to find information hidden in the school while completing the quiz. Sounds like chaos I know, but we deputized the principle and a few other teachers to distribute: speeding tickets, and noise violations in the form of 15 second penalties. After that, we had no issues with movement, volume, or general behavior. What this looked like was 24 kids completing a reading comprehension assignment, while getting exercise and competing to have a digital unicorn beat another digital unicorn… The result: probably the highest outcome in a reading comprehension assignment this year, with no grumbling or complaining, and 100% participation. Sounds like a win to me.
Whether, using survey, short answer or quiz, the key with this, or any other app really, is to ensure that it is kept fresh by varying the way it is used. This sends two messages to the students:
- technology is adaptive. It can serve purposes and be valuable in ways other than those intended by the designer.
- Skills are transferable and dependent on the situation. Being proficient at one use of a tool does not automatically mean mastery…having an iPad does not mean you understand its total potential.
This less traditional use of apps in the learning environment does require a level of comfort, and to be honest, it took a few times before we hit the right ‘mechanics’ to make this use of Socrative work. However, students enjoyed the activity, and as a benefit worked in the refinement of the activity to make it work better. They too saw value in what we were doing and were invested in ensuring it was an activity we would do again.
We, as a learning community, have not exhausted the possibilities, of Socrative, and will continue to look at new ways to use this in the classroom. By getting more teachers to use this tool, new uses will be found to ensure that the shine does not fade from this valuable tool.