Socrative – app of the week

Thanks need to go to Karen Duxbury-Watkinson for this. If she had not tweeted me to see if I could help with a technical issue I would not have come across this app (for a while at least).

Socrative is a free student response tool created for teachers by teachers. The Web 2.0 tool has been around for a while but there is now an app (the Teacher one is available here on the App Store, or here for Android).  I have looked into a number of student response apps over the past few months but they have all incurred some sort of cost. Socrative is free (at present) and to be honest I would have happily paid to download it after the positive experience I have had with it is week.

I have said it before, and I will say it again, when it comes to apps I will always sing the praises of those developers who engage with their customers. Admittedly I really should break my Twitter habit of pestering app developers but hey, those that respond are the ones I want to add to my PLN. The guys at Socrative do just that. This blog post would have come about even without a request from them to add something to their ‘garden‘.  Do check it out for ideas for using Socrative effectively in the classroom and beyond.

My first experience of Socrative in class was using the app to introduce new vocabulary in French.  I wrote a quiz on Les Matieres and set it up as a Space Race.  We have class sets of iPads so pupils were able to play in teams on those.  They loved seeing their rockets make their way across the screen as I projected from my iPad and it added to the need to not only work quickly, but to choose the correct answer.  I made sure I added an explanation behind the right answers within the quiz.  Once pupils had completed the race I emailed the report to myself and as a class we then analysed the results.  This was particularly effective for Assessment for Learning in the classroom as we were able to easily identify where common mistakes were e.g. assuming ‘la technologie’ was ICT not Design Technology.  This led to a worthwhile discussion about faux amis.

There are some things I would like to be able to change – the Exit Ticket idea is great, perfect for Ofsted in fact, but the wording does not quite fit in with what we use as a school, and personally I would rather add a question to the Exit Ticket rather than write a problem on the board for students to solve (this does not lend itself to MFL teaching) – but on the whole this is a great app and one that I will use on a regular basis in my lessons from now on.

A Science colleague, Simon Wood,  has used Socrative out of the classroom.  We tried it out first – he opened his ‘room’ and set up a quiz, shared the room number with me, and I accessed the room from my Student app (whilst sat in the gym club room I might add) and completed the quiz.  Simon then shared the room number on his Science Facebook page, leaving the room open for a two hour window, and a number of students responded.  There is no reason why, if pupils were properly prepped, this sort of activity could not take place as a regular form of plenary after a lesson.

It would appear that Science teachers are in the lead with using Socrative in the UK and a host of materials are being created and shared on TES Resources.  Gavin Smart, member of the TES Science Teacher Panel, and Alessio Bernardelli, the Science Subject Lead at TES, have been hard at work uploading resources and Alessio kindly sent me the template they are using.  I will be adding MFL codes as and when I write quizzes but you can find my first one on Les Matieres here.

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