The other day I finally got a chance to use the Socrative App with my Elevens. We are currently reading Golding’s Lord of the Flies and we’ve been participating in this ongoing “Survivor” challenge these past few weeks.
I had randomly grouped them into 4 groups…on the premise that they were stranded on a tropical island because they had crash-landed after our field trip to Costa Rica went awry. Of course, though I valiantly tried to save them, I perished with the pilot. Every week, we have a few little fun games to kick-start the class. I always have a physical challenge and a mental challenge for each survivor game. The mental challenges are either puzzles (crosswords, word searches and such) or some sort of quiz I use to check comprehension of our readings.
All in all, I think my learners are enjoying the little challenges as they give us a break and get us moving around the classroom. Still searching for quick mental challenge activities, I decided to employ the Socrative App that I uploaded on my iPad the other day. Because the students are in 4 groups, I only need 4 iphones, smartphones or iPads. Because the test-run was successful (i.e. they said they liked it) and I have the iPad cart most days (from the iPad Project), I will upload the Student Socrative App on the 15 iPads. This app beats those clickers that I hear UBC students have to pay for ($25? that’s highway robbery!) Both the student and teacher Socrative apps are free and if the kids bring their own devices and you have wifi, there’s no problemo. They just sign in to the teacher’s “room number” and they’re ready to go.
Because I had never done it before, I just had the students use their own smartphones. I’d say it took them about 2 to 3 minutes to find the Socrative site and they told me that it was a neat way to check for understanding. From the teacher app (I was using my Dell tablet at the time, and online using my internet cable and projecting with the LCD projector) you can either choose to have the live results posted or not. I chose to have everyone see the results live. You can’t tell who has answered incorrectly. The individual students know on their devices whether they got the question right or wrong (I used Multiple Choice questions) and the real-time live display only shows you how many people chose each multiple choice response. However, as the teacher, at the end you can choose to have the results emailed to you as a report. The students wanted to do the “Space Race” for the next survivor challenge. This would be projected live and you can see the spaceships shooting towards the finish line…and whichever group answers all the questions correctly and quickly wins.
I think everyone wins though because this is a nifty way of using formative assessment to further students’ learning. There is also an option to have open-ended questions and “exit tickets” so there’s flexibility in the AFL strategies you employ.