Many teachers have started to use technological tools in their teaching. The main goal in using technology in class is not only to have the teacher use technological tool, but to have students use them. One of the biggest issues that teachers need to think of is the time to set everything with the students in order to carry out an activity efficiently. I have found an online tool that I think can be of great use to the teachers in want of technology in their classes. This tool is called Socrative.
Socrative aims at creating interactive online quizzes. A teacher has to create an account. Each created account is assigned a “room number” that can be changed by teachers if they think that the number is too complicated. In order for the students to do a quiz each of them has to access either the Socrative application for tablets or the Socrative website. If students access the website, they will have to click on the icon “Student Log In”. Whether students use the application or the website, they will have to enter the room number and click on “Join Room”. Once they are logged in, they see a message telling them to wait for the teacher to start the next activity. On the teacher’s side, he/she sees the number of students that have joined the room. From that point on, they can start all kinds of questioning activities. There are two types of activities that can be done. With the single-question activity, teachers can ask a question out loud, give multiple choices to students, and activate a multiple choice question activity. On their side, the students see five choices (A, B, C, D, or E) and have to click on any of them to give their answer. The same thing can be done with true-or-false questions as well as short-answer questions. With quiz-based activities, teachers can create, edit, and duplicate their own quizzes. When creating a quiz, teachers can choose to add multiple-choice questions, true-or-false questions, and short-answer questions. When students are taking a quiz, the teacher can decide whether the students do it at their own pace or the teacher decides that they move on to the next question. The latter can be used if the teacher dispose of a limited amount of time. When having students taking a quiz, the teacher can activate or deactivate three optional features, which are: randomize answer choices (students do not have the same order for multiple-choice questions), disable immediate right/wrong feedback (students do not know whether their answers were right or wrong), and hide question explanations (students are not given explanation when they answer incorrectly). There is also the possibility to use what is called an “exit ticket”, which can be used at the end of a class to assess the students’ understanding of what was covered. Moreover, it is possible to do a “space race”. It consists of little spaceships that get ahead of others the more students from each team have good answers. For any of the quizzes done by students, teachers have the possibility to download reports of quizzes’ answers on their computers or email themselves the reports. What is good is the fact that before taking a quiz, students have to enter their names. It gives teachers an idea of who understands and who does not.
Socrative can be very useful in education. The best use of Socrative may be for formative assessment. It helps the teacher know whether he/she needs to spend more time on a given subject matter or not. Moreover, the “exit ticket” can help in knowing whether students understand the subject matter of a specific class or not. Most of the teachers have to deal with limited budgets regarding photocopying. Socrative is a very good way to overcome this issue. For example, the author of this blog loves Socratic because it allows him to go paperless. Dave Rudey also uses Socrative to test students. He uses the features which gives him the possibility to randomize the answers on the side of the students. This way, it prevents them from teaching.
The main benefits of using this tool is that it is fast and easy to use. The only thing that students need to do is access the Socrative website and log in by entering the “room number”. If they have access to a tablet and they have the application, it is even faster. Moreover, students love it because it is electronic and it gives them immediate feedback on whether they obtained the right answer or not.
Honestly, Socrative is the best online tool that I have so far discovered. I will use it in my classes for sure. I love the way teachers can manage quizzes and the way it engages students. In my opinion, the most interesting feature of this tool is the “exit ticket”. From what I have so far experienced in teaching, it is hard to know for sure if our students have retained anything from what we have said. By downloading an “exit ticket” report, it is possible to be sure. We, as teachers, do not have to wait for our students fail on an exams to brush up on a specific subject matter. Also, the general purpose of the tool helps to be aware of the students that have more difficulty in general. The “exit ticket” can also be used to take attendance since the students have to provide their names for taking this type of quizzes. The fact that it is paperless and that I try to be as paperless as possible myself certainly grabbed my attention. The only flaw that I have noticed when trying the tool is that a student cannot go back to a question even if the feedback feature is disabled. Therefore, it is my belief that this tool is not suitable for summative test taking.