A massive ‘thanks’ to Simon for the following account of his first experiences with Socrative:

Following Gavin’s training and excellent sandwiches I was inspired to use the Socrative app as soon as possible in order to not forget what I had learned.

The app is a quiz based assessment tool which can be used to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the student’s learning in a lesson. It is simple to use and makes a fairly efficient use of a teacher’s planning time.

Firstly you need to register on Socrative. This can be done by either searching ‘Socrative teacher’ on Google or opening the ‘Teacher’ app on the iPad.

Once registered you are given a room number, which is the number for all the quizzes you produce.

The app is simple to navigate and the best way to learn is to simply have a go at pushing all the options and seeing where it takes you. Essentially you can choose from a variety of different quiz formats.

These split in two broad categories:

Unprepared quizzes: You ask a verbal question you have carefully just thought of based on how your lesson has progressed. The students can then answer true or false or from a multiple choice format and you would get an instant ‘feel’ for the learning that has taken place.

Prepared quizzes:  Similarly you can prepare true or false or multiple choice questions and this time the questions and possible answers are programmed into the app. The students enter their names and work through the questions either at their own pace or directed by the teacher. At the end of the quiz a full report can be downloaded which shows exactly how each student performed. This comes in the form of an Excel spreadsheet and you can then analyse the results.

I have provided an example from a quiz I set to a science group. From the spreadsheet (below) I can clearly see I need to go over the content covered by Q4 and that there are a couple of students who require further intervention as they seem to have not understood a number of questions.

Soc data

(Click on image to enlarge, names removed for obvious reasons)

So far I have used the multiple choice version of quizzes. It has taken me just under 25 minutes to prepare quizzes of between 6 and 8 questions. This has been with 4 possible answers. I think this a fairly efficient use of planning time especially considering the data it provides and will be even more so if I use the same quizzes (with slight modifications) in years to come.

There are plenty of opportunities to hit key learning objectives related to differentiation (number of options for answers / difficulty of questions), literacy (each question comes with the facility to add a comment), extension (you can go back over the questions and get students to explain why answers are correct / incorrect) and obviously assessment.

Here are some tips for using the app I have picked up so far: The app itself can be temperamental. Before attempting to use the app instruct your class to firstly close the app completely on the iPad. Then, close down and restart the iPad itself before opening the app again. Alternatively, Sam Stringer advised our LTC that you can use Socrative directly from its website on the internet and this is much more reliable. It is also important to monitor the names that the students type in when they log in to the room. Some students find it amusing to call themselves all manner of inappropriate and misleading appellations. There is also the opportunity to ‘randomise’ the answers. In the case the correct answer for one student might be given as option a) but the same answer for another student will be given as answer b). This helps to reduce copying and the effect of over excited students calling out the answers.

That is my experience of using the app so far. There are lots of other options including the ability to set short answer questions instead of multiple choice, but I have not used these yet and so cannot comment.

All in all it has been worthwhile and is a useful tool which I intend to use again.

Simon Turner. 

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