One of the best features of a SmartBoard is the Response system. To operate a Response system, you need the SmartBoard and a classroom set of clickers, which usually run about $2,000 on their own. The best feature of Socrative is that not only is it free, it does a better job of what the Response system tries to do. And yes. It’s totally free.
Perhaps the biggest hurdle using Socrative isn’t the technology itself (how many of your students walk around with iPods, iPhones, or some similar device?), but the school policies enforced in your building. If there was a ever a reason to relax policies on cell phones and the like, an app as useful as this must surely be it.
Fun? One of my least motivated students was adamant that this would make learning fun and he would “try harder.” And he offered that information on his own–I didn’t prompt him on how Socrative affected his learning experience. I find that response systems like this are often labeled “fun”, and they may be for a student’s first time through, but after a while, it just becomes “learning” all over again.
Somehow, though, this feels different. I think the fact that it is so easy to use (no login information creation for students is required) and the fact that they can use it on their own device makes it a lot more “fun”.
Easy to Use? For both teacher and student, this app is crazy easy to use. What makes it so effective is that it is available on any machine that can access the internet. If you are working with laptops, students can visit your own class site (a cinch to create). If you (or the students) have iPhones, iPods, or iPads, they can access the website or download the app.
Gets the Job Done? I searched socrative.com trying to see who created this app, my theory being that it had to have been created by a teacher. Every hiccup I have seen with similar systems is absent, every feature I wish was included already is. It’s just fantastic and I still can’t believe 1) how free it is and 2) how easy it is. Student engagement is something that technology should increase, and I have never seen an app that achieves it so effortlessly.
If I had an iPad in class I’d
1) An iPad is not a requirement here. If you have internet access, you are good to go. And if you have that, use it. Use it often. Use it daily. Use it to for official quizzes, informal quizzes, exit tickets, review games, even short answer questions! (A hidden bonus if you are using short answer questions and your students have iProducts: autocorrect!)
2) Use it to go paperless. A “paperless” classroom is something that I always thought technology would bring me, but nothing really came close. Every step of this is digital, from quiz creation and use to student responses and performance sheets. And though you can work across devices, it is all very seamless.
3) There is a lot of promise for general classroom use, but I especially like the Exit Ticket. I have always thought that this was a great idea, but it just seemed like a lot of work (and a lot of paper) for maybe minimal gain–what are the odds I’m going to have 60+ Exit Tickets read and ready for feedback on a daily basis? Maybe if I am only grading Exit Tickets…
But Socrative makes it so much easier to give quick feedback. Student answers can be exported to Excel and I can look at them all on one easy spreadsheet to see if they are getting the concept.
Use it in a cool way? Tell us about it in the comments.
Final Grade: 5.0/5.0