Socrative is a web-based system that lets teachers and students set up questions and polling on any device with a web browser (iPads, smartphones, laptops, iPod Touches, etc.). A student clicker IOS App is also available and there’s also one for Android. And the best news is that it’s free.
To get started, the teacher would set up an account (free), then log in at t.socrative.com by entering their email and password. Here they can set up a quick question, or a full quiz. They can also download a teacher app which lets them do the same thing.
The students would go to m.socrative.com in their browser (or open the clicker app) and enter the “virtual room number” provided by the teacher. Students will then see “Waiting for teacher to start an activity…”.
Teachers initiate an activity by selecting it on their main screen (e.g. Multiple Choice, T/F, Quick Quiz). The simplest way to ask a question is to simply ask verbally or post it on the board and then ask the students to submit their answers. This would be good for “off the cuff” questioning. For more formal assessments a teacher could load up a quiz that had been created in Socrative in advance and saved. Quizzes can be imported from an Excel template too.
When the students visit the site and enter the correct room number, they will see the quiz and be able to answer the questions. Teachers can set whether the quiz runs at the student pace or the teacher’s pace. Students’ results are visible on the Teacher’s screen or sent in an email. They can also be downloaded as an excel file which shows the students answers and overall score.
There’s also a “Space Race” feature which allows teachers to create virtual teams for answering questions or prompts and also an “exit ticket” mode which allows students to self-assess their understanding of the lesson (Assessment for Learning). This could be a good alternative to the “traffic lights” system or thumbs up/down that a lot of teachers use. The self assessment score, along with the students name, is then stored and is available to the teacher after the lesson.
For a free system, I was very impressed with Socrative. I’ve only tried it out quickly, but would like to give this a try with my PGCE students to see what they make of it. Question design was simple – but for a basic multiple choice, short answer or true/false quiz it worked well. There was no scope to add images like you would be able to do in something like Smart Response or ActivEngage, but you could run the quiz alongside a flipchart or powerpoint page with the same questions on it, plus any images. It would mean extra work, but would be possible to do.
For individual testing, it does require every student to have their own computer – but it will work on any device with a browser with no need to have anything installed. This means there’s a lot of flexibility in how it’s used and you could mix smartphones, ipads and laptops without any problems. For a Space Race you could even have students share a device.
It doesn’t have all the whistles and bells of something like ActivExpression or similar, but if you’ve already broken the bank with a class set of iPads and want to do class polling on a budget, then I’d definitely recommend Socrative.
To find out more about Socrative, and to sign up for a free account, visit www.socrative.com
Let me know what you think about it in the comments below.