• Home
  • Search
    •  
  • Login
    • Username: Password:

      Did you miss your activation email?

Author Topic: Socrative  (Read 2288 times)

old34

  • Barfly
  • *
  • Posts: 2213
Socrative
« on: April 02, 2012, 09:36:40 AM »
Edmodo is still going strong with my students. But I get a lot of other good ideas there. I stumbled across this one today: Socrative.

In their own words, Socrative "(e)ngage(s) the class using any device
Socrative is a smart student response system that empowers teachers to engage their classrooms through a series of educational exercises and games via smartphones, laptops, and tablets."

It's got some really cool uses and I'm sure there'll be a WOW factor when I unveil it to my students in class this week. Here's how it works, and it seems to work on any device connected to the Internet: PC, Mac, Smartphone (any kind), iPad. The teacher sets up an account and is assigned a "Room Number" (you can change it once you're logged in). When you get to the classroom, just log-in to Socrative. At whatever point in the class you want to use it, give the URL to the students (here most of them will be using their smartphones to access the internet. When the website comes up on their device, tell them to simply type in your "Room Number" and voilá they'll be in your "Room". No need for them to register anything or log-in, they're just in. On your screen, you'll get instant feedback as to the numbers joining. Now, you can do a few things from here: Give an oral (or pre-written) quiz where they just type the answer on their phone, for example. At the point they take the quiz, it asks them to type their name. The website calculates the scores and sends you an email with everyone's names and scores in XLS format. I can do quizzes on Edmodo, so this didn't excite me, too much.

Here's where it got me really excited. I know "exit slips/exit tickets" are a best practice in teaching but I rarely use them because I don't want to be burdened with lots of little slips of paper and photo copying Exit Slip forms all the time. Socrative has a built in Exit Ticket function.  Have the students fire up Socrative 5 minutes before the end of class. On your device, choose the Exit Ticket function. On their screen they'll get a message to type they're name. Next, they'll get a multiple choice question about how well they understood today's lesson. They press a, b, c, d or e for various choices ranging from 'Got It"  to "Not at all." Finally, the next (and last) screen pops up and says "Answer the question I've written on the board." It's in short answer format so they can type anything. Now, I could put a question related to today's lesson up on the board (or the PPT) or I could just write "What questions do you have from today's lesson?" and they could type in any question they have. They then logout and can leave the classroom (both physically and virtually). A few minutes after class, I get an email from Socrative with all the responses in XLS form. Bang! It's saved in my email, I can attach it to the XLS for the particular class, and next week I can answer their questions. No more bits of paper clogging my bag.

There's also a function which you can, if you wanted to, keep open during the class and they can type anonymous messages to you (preferably questions about the material). Or just open it at the beginning of break so you can get any questions they have at break time. This function appears live on your screen, no need to wait for an e-mail.

Anyway, I think this little system would be very useful in the Chinese classroom because, as we all know, students here by-and-large shy away from asking questions out loud.

So go and take a look. Watch the short video. It's really easy to set up, much easier than the paragraphs I wrote above trying to describe it.

Finally, the initial website (this will be different from the one you use when using the system as they'll explain):

http://www.socrative.com/
Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad. - B. O'Driscoll

CWL

  • Barfly
  • *
  • Posts: 170
Re: Socrative
« Reply #1 on: April 02, 2012, 10:34:49 AM »
Interesting.

Is the room # always the same, or does it change?


old34

  • Barfly
  • *
  • Posts: 2213
Re: Socrative
« Reply #2 on: April 02, 2012, 10:41:31 AM »
Interesting.

Is the room # always the same, or does it change?

It stays the same. But you can change it in your account to something else, presumably if no one else is using it. I changed mine to a word (not numbers, easier to remember) and it worked and it stuck.
Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad. - B. O'Driscoll

CWL

  • Barfly
  • *
  • Posts: 170
Re: Socrative
« Reply #3 on: April 02, 2012, 09:17:56 PM »
That's what I thought.  I had set up an account but did not have access to a secondary computer to check things out.  I will take a closer look at this in the near future.

Thanks.

MK

  • Barfly Dude
  • *
  • Posts: 1884
Re: Socrative
« Reply #4 on: April 03, 2012, 01:18:14 PM »
Really interesting stuff, I need to spend a bit of time catching up with this sort of thing, it really seems to give another angle on teaching and classroom teaching in particular.  We are still struggling to get students to use Blackboard, Web CT etc when things have already moved on...

Fozzwaldus

  • Barfly
  • *
  • Posts: 1829
Re: Socrative
« Reply #5 on: April 04, 2012, 11:07:22 PM »
  We are still struggling to get students to use Blackboard, Web CT etc when things have already moved on...

here here, most unis are well behind the curve on these sorts of things. WEBCT and MOODLE and the most user-unfriendly pieces of piffle you'll ever meet, like facebook 5 years ago.

两只老外, 两只老外,跑得快,跑得快,
一个是老酒鬼,一个是老色鬼,真奇怪, 真奇怪

old34

  • Barfly
  • *
  • Posts: 2213
Re: Socrative
« Reply #6 on: April 04, 2012, 11:29:50 PM »
We have Blackboard at my school but very few Chinese teachers use it. If I want to use it, the school has to upload my class list which will all be in Chinese. Also, I can only access it on campus as it's on the school Intranet.

With Edmodo, the students just register themselves. Takes about a minute. It's got many more features than Blackboard.

As for Socrative, I'm giving it a test run in my two classes this morning. I'm going to use the Exit Ticket function near the end of each class. I just finished setting up the website page on my laptop to use it and tested it "as a student" on my iPod. Took less than a minute. I'll take it over to the classroom and re-connect to the Internet and we'll see how it goes.
Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad. - B. O'Driscoll

old34

  • Barfly
  • *
  • Posts: 2213
Re: Socrative
« Reply #7 on: April 05, 2012, 11:06:56 AM »
Field Report: Mixed results.

The Bad: It took about 10 minutes of class time to get it sorted.

In the first class, 11 of 25 were able to connect eventually and complete the exit ticket while the others kept fiddling with their phones. It seemed many of those who couldn't connect had various Nokia phones. I think most of them are on China Unicom. I tried on my Nokia C7 through China Mobile (EDGE not 3G) and I was able to connect as a student.

In the second class, which has my best students, only 6 of 25 could connect. Surprisingly many of the ones who couldn't connect had iPhones. Not sure what was up with that.

The Good: For those who could connect, I got good and immediate feedback but again it left 10 minutes where the others were just fiddling with their phones.

But, I solved the problem and will use this approach in the future. I left my Socrative classroom open (i.e. I didn't click the "End Activity" button) and told everyone as they were leaving that I'd leave it open for an hour. Most of the students within that hour were able to complete the task when they got back to their dorms. In other words, they reconnected through their dorm computers and completed the task. Both classes.

So I got some good feedback and some good questions which I will answer next week. So that looks like the way to go....introduce it to them in class and give it a try, then keep the session open for an hour or so after class. The following week, right at the end of class, I'll tell them, "OK I'm opening a Socrative session now and I'll keep it open for an hour (or two) so do it when you have time or the means."

BTW, when I disconnected my computer from the classroom network and put it in sleep mode, got back to my apartment, woke it up and reconnected to the internet through my WiFi, the session was still open on my browser and a couple of responses had already been submitted in the time I was offline. In other words, Socrative did not close or disconnect the session because the teacher disconnected. So I guess they keep the session open on their computers and it is only closed when the teacher clicks the "End Activity" button and logs off through the browser.
Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad. - B. O'Driscoll

The Local Dialect

  • Global Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 3717
Re: Socrative
« Reply #8 on: April 05, 2012, 12:19:14 PM »
This sounds interesting 34, but at the same time I am a bit wary of introducing the use of mobile devices in class. I definitely feel like outside of class, as a tool, these various softwares can really enhance the learning experience. At the same time though, these kids spend so much of their lives plugged into various screens and devices already. I kind of, maybe in a self-involved teacher sort of way, would like their attention to be focused on me and not on their phones and iPads during class time. I already have to battle with their use of these devices, whether they're taking notes on them or using their dictionary function, or just farting around on Weibo. I sort of fear that if I go ahead and give the official sanction by saying we are actually using your mobile devices as part of class, I'll be unleashing the beast and it will be hard to reign it back in. I also don't like the idea of spending 10-15 minutes of classtime fiddling with technology.

I don't really consider myself a Luddite but in some ways I am still quite old fashioned in my teaching -- I only even started using Powerpoint about a year ago, before that I was a strictly chalkboard kinda gal. There have also been studies done showing that all of these techy bells and whistles do not necessarily produce any better results in the classroom, and while all this stuff is certainly cool (and cool does have merits), the real usefulness is kind of debateable.

However, there is a "if you can't be them join them" aspect to the argument. If they're going to be fooling around on their devices anyhow, at least give them something constructive to do with them.

Just wondering though, do ALL of your students have smartphones and such? I am pretty sure that in my classes about 90% of my students do, but there are 1 or 2 that I've never seen with a device. That doesn't mean they don't own them, but my guess is they don't since the rest are not bashfull about taking them out during class. It seems that if you didn't have a class that was fully plugged in this wouldn't really work, as those without the devices, even if they could share with a deskmate, would probably feel shamed and embarrassed.

old34

  • Barfly
  • *
  • Posts: 2213
Re: Socrative
« Reply #9 on: April 05, 2012, 01:52:26 PM »
About 90% of my students have smartphones as I found out today. Even so, some of the smartphones weren't very smart. I also didn't like the 10 minutes it took to get it working. I carved that amount out at the end of class, but I just didn't like it.

That's why I came up with the solution I did while standing there watching 20-30% of the class engage while the others fiddled: leave the session open and let them do it after class. I experimented with my idea and that worked. Socrative keeps everything on their servers so you can disconnect devices (teacher or student) and just re-type the "room number" when you re-connect and you're back in. That worked so my recommendation is, as I said, spend the 10 minutes at the end of class once to show them how it works. Then in the future, as the lesson ends and they're getting ready to leave, tell them you're opening a session now and you'll keep it open for 1-2 hours and they can do the exit ticket later-from their dorm, between classes, etc.

In the end, the email feedback I got on the lesson (meaning the content of the lesson, not this tool) seems worth the effort to use it. Also, some of the questions from the 1st class informed my delivery of the lesson in the next class.
Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad. - B. O'Driscoll

CWL

  • Barfly
  • *
  • Posts: 170
Re: Socrative
« Reply #10 on: April 06, 2012, 08:12:11 AM »
I don't really consider myself a Luddite but in some ways I am still quite old fashioned in my teaching -- I only even started using Powerpoint about a year ago, before that I was a strictly chalkboard kinda gal. There have also been studies done showing that all of these techy bells and whistles do not necessarily produce any better results in the classroom, and while all this stuff is certainly cool (and cool does have merits), the real usefulness is kind of debateable.

That has been my observation for years.  Sometimes I feel that it really hampers many students, especially when transitioning from all of the bells and whistles to straight lecturing at a university.

CWL

  • Barfly
  • *
  • Posts: 170
Re: Socrative
« Reply #11 on: April 06, 2012, 08:13:37 AM »
Field Report...

Very useful.  Thanks.