Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Socrative Method

For my Project-Based Learning (PBL) units this year, I have been privileged to have access to an iPad cart which affords every one of my students the opportunity to have a device in class.  Students are able to keep their notes on their Google Drive or Evernote accounts, can access the web to do research or visit the class wiki, and can access a wide variety of Hebrew texts using ובלכתך בדרך, a wonderful free app that contains the full text of many basic texts.

However, the current class favorite among all of the apps that our wonderful tech team has placed onto the iPads has got to be Socrative.  Socrative is a free student-response app that is actually two apps - one for the teacher and one for the students.  Using it is simplicity itself.  The teacher enters the app and can add any number of questions, either multiple choice or short answer.  If the questions are multiple choice (which includes yes/no), the teacher can program in the correct answer for Socrative to use in marking the questions later on.  Once the teacher is ready to administer the quiz or questions, he or she shares the "room number" with the students, they enter that number into their version of the app, and begin answering the questions.  Once the quiz is open, the teacher can view in live time which students have begun the quiz, how many questions they have answered, and - if there are multiple choice questions - how many questions have been answered correctly.  Once the quiz is over, the teacher can receive an instant email with a spreadsheet summary of all of the answers that the students have entered.

In my class, this app has taken the concept of exit cards to a new level.  I typically write the questions while I am circulating around the room helping my students.  Since they are all working on different parts of the material, I try to ask general questions which will allow them to recap their work for the day in a few words (e.g. "Name one new thing you learned today", "What question do you still want to find an answer for tomorrow", etc.).  I open up the quiz with fewer than five minutes to go in class, and this thus allows them to refocus themselves on where they are headed in their work.  Even better, I am able to walk out of class while reading the spreadsheet summary of their answers, thus providing me with an instant sense of what the students have accomplished that day and therefore who might need some more attention in tomorrow's class session.

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