Using Socrative in Five Innovative Ways

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Socrative is a great AfL tool. If you haven’t used it before it allows you to collect quick responses from students, it works on any device, and it allows you to plan, or spontaneously deploy, multiple choice questions in a lesson. You can also collect quick written answers from students to judge their comprehension. The data produced is instantly available, easily stored, and ready to use when you need to.

But, there’s some really nice ways that you can extend the value of the tool. I’ve seen Socrative used in five more innovative ways that have had a great result on the learning of students.

1. Let students create their own assessments

Student accounts in Socrative don’t allow quizzes to be created. But you can ‘flip Socrative’ by creating a teacher account that students can access (a new Gmail account can be used for the username).

I’ve seen this used really successfully with GCSE and post-16 students. At the end of a topic a student, or all students, can be invited to create a revision quiz. Students can then undertake a sample of these quizzes to review their own knowledge. Engagement is really good when students complete a quiz created by their peers.

You can use the quizzes to launch a discussion about how students can assess their own revision. For example, you may choose to compare two quizzes and to consider which offers the most comprehensive overview of a unit. You could also get a little bit deeper into metacognition and ask why are some multiple choice questions at making you think and carefully recall information, rather than others. Then you could discuss how these questions could be used in independent revision.

2. Get students to create action plans based on immediate feedback

Usually, the feedback cycle has a break in it while students wait you to get through your pile of marking. The refreshing thing about Socrative is that it provides students with instant feedback.

Now, it may not be able to assess the quality of a student’s writing, or skills, but it can very effectively assess their knowledge in real time. Thus, you can give students real ownership over their work by suggesting that they create a plan of how to overcome gaps in their subject knowledge the second that they receive feedback from Socrative. The immediacy of the feedback makes this reflective time all the more relevant and powerful to students.

3. Create hybrid assessments

For most subjects, teachers will use a combination of extended written tests with knowledge tests for examinations. Also, there are some assessments that rely very heavily on knowledge.

As a teacher, time is the one thing you never have enough of. So why not consider outsourcing all of your knowledge based marking to Socrative? If any questions are knowledge based, you could have them assessed by Socrative’s quiz tool. Students can either type in or select answers, and Socrative can identify correct answers and provide instant feedback. Also, students receive immediate feedback. Double bonus!

Joe Kirby has some great advice on creating multiple choice questions that have rigour and challenge on his blog. This advice is very easy to apply to Socrative’s quiz tool.

4. Repeat the same quizzes to assess revision

Repeating quizzes that students have already done may seem pointless. You may think that it is hard to demonstrate progress, and students will become frustrated. However, when students are preparing for an exam it can be useful to run through an extended (around 30-35 question) quiz on the topic on a number of occasions before they sit the actual examination.

The quiz can be repeated every week, or every couple of lessons. If students do better each week it is an indication, both to you and to the student, that their revision is going well. If students are not progressing, or losing knowledge, it is a sign that their revision requires intervention and improvement. If you see that all students are getting better at the quiz every week then it shows that there is good progress and good learning at home.

It also makes it apparent to students that knowledge retention is something that needs to be habitually worked on. These metacognitive discussions can lead very nicely to students considering how to take ownership over their revision and exam preparation.

5. Use a quiz as a starter in the run up to an exam

Also, in the run up to exam season, I used a Socrative quiz as a starter for every lesson with my Year 11s. It was a really good way for me to gain valuable insights into what students knew and where there were gaps in subject knowledge. These allowed me to clarify misconceptions and to identify which students I needed to work closely with in the weeks leading up to the exam.

Instead of marking and then altering my planning once I had got through a pile of essays (which can take a long time), I had spreadsheets e-mailed to me that showed exactly what I needed to be teaching in the last few weeks. It was a dream to analyse and plan from!

With a good bank of PowerPoints and worksheets on hand to print, I could also go back over material that students typically struggled with the second that they had finished the quiz. Yes, it’s a little bit of ad-hoc planning, but it met the needs of students perfectly!

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