Socrative is a student response system that can be used on any sort of device, may it be a computer, a smartphone or a tablet. It allows teachers to ask different kinds of questions, planned or not, to the students during class, such as multiple choices, true or false, pre-planned quizzes, or exit tickets. Most of the activities offered by the platform are anonymous, so the students do not have to share their name. Here is a quick tutorial:
In an ESL classroom, Socrative can be used in many different ways. First of all, you can use it to assess what the students have been learning during class with a quick multiple choice question, which do not have to be pre-prepared. As explained by Coley, the teacher only has to say out loud the question or write it on the board and associate answers with a letter. This way, the pace of the class won’t be slowed, and it will keep the students attentive. The teacher can then show the results on the board The same thing can be done with a True or False question as well as for a short answer question, in which students have to write an answer. Furthermore, the quiz option allows teachers to evaluate the students on a formative or summative basis. The quizzes have to be pre-prepared so that both the questions and the answers (if they are not open questions) appear on the students’ page. Teachers have the option to choose whether they want the quiz to be self-paced by the students or paced by the teacher. They can also choose to have the questions randomized, so that students may not have the questions in the same order. “With the ability to store and save students results [because they have to give their name in order to enter a quiz], Socrative can be used to visualize student progress and assist in adapting learning material and instruction.” Teachers can use these data in order to know which parts of the lesson has been misunderstood, or which students need more help. Socrative also allows the teachers to download or email the results, which makes the tracking of the students’ progress easier. However, as expressed by Coley, “ this [the quiz option] probably shouldn’t be used for a final exam but it is a great way to get some immediate feedback from everyone in the room about how things are going,” since students cannot go back to a previous question. When they have answered, they cannot change their mind.
Tucker also shared other ways to use the tool in the classroom. For example, Socrative could be used as a brainstorming activity with the open question option, in which students would anonymously write down some ideas that the teacher would show in front of the classroom. Another use would be for icebreaker activities at the beginning of the school year in order to know the students better.
Personally, I really like the fact that the students do not have to give their names for most of the activities proposed by the platform. This way, students who are more shy to share their answers in front of the class won’t have the same pression. It is anonymous so nobody will know which student gave which answer. I also agree with Coley when he said that it is a good way to review or finish a lesson. Indeed, I think the options given by Socrative, especially the Exit Ticket, give great opportunities to assess the students’ understanding of the lesson and give hints to the teachers about what they should review or go over again.
Finally, here is a brief list of pros and cons:
- It is free;
- It allows paperless assessment;
- It can be used on any device;
- It is anonymous, except for the quiz
- It is simple to use.
- Students cannot go back a question after it is answered;
- Teachers cannot really use it to grade the students;
- Students must have access to a device, which may be against the school’s rules.
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