Ready? Get set… Using Socrative in the classroom

Quizzes can help with everything from highlighting knowledge gaps to energising a lesson. Unfortunately, while there are plenty of online quiz tools (Kahoot is notably engaging), the free accounts associated with them are often limited to such an extent that they are hard work to use and re-use.

This semester, I have been exploring what Socrative can offer and, although I’m sure I haven’t exploited it fully yet, I have found some very useful scenarios that I would like to share.

What have I tried? Take a look:

Pseudo Team-Based Learning with multiple-choice questions

I can’t claim this to be true team-based learning, but by applying its principles I can start my first class of the week reviewing the individual work I set the previous week. I like to allocate 20 minutes to it, though it can stretch to half an hour if necessary.

Here is my process:

  1. Before class, I create 10 multiple-choice questions, incorporating topics that will come up in future assessments.
  2. I begin class with a teacher-paced quiz run-through for individuals. Students aren’t responding at this stage; they’re just taking their own notes. The aim is to encourage individual reflection.
  3. Then, students form into their regular 4-5 person teams (which we organised in our first class in Week 1) and I run the quiz again. One member of the group votes on their behalf after discussing the options. We check the results question by question and clear up any misunderstanding. We can review overall team performance at the end.

Only needing one device per group generally ensures that even an area with weaker wi-fi can be accommodated.

These classes have been received well and the competition can become quite fierce! For another level of competitive fun, at the end of the semester, I can use the results as part of a league table for a finals quiz.

The interface for students is clean and engaging, as you can see here:

And teachers get real-time data at a glance:

Short answer questions during class

Short answers are a very easy way to collect anonymous answers from individuals or pairs. (Grouping students in pairs or trios is an easy way to get around any device availability or connectivity issues.)

You can prepare a short answer quiz with multiple questions in advance or just use the ‘quick quiz’ option.

Run a prepared quiz in teacher-paced mode and avoid asking for student names. You can let students submit just one answer (see how many have responded) or allow unlimited responses (where quantity is important). Then, discuss and comment on submissions, removing any that are inappropriate. To boost engagement for the whole class, you can allocate students to rate answers and give feedback. There is even an option to create a PDF with the answers that you can share with students.

Here’s an example of some short answer responses to my question, ‘What is a business?’:

Reuse your questions

Once you invest time in creating the quiz in Socrative, the idea of re-typing the same material in Moodle is not appealing to most of us!

Some tools, like Kahoot, let quizzes be run outside class time, so you can just provide a link to the quiz. However, that feature has the disadvantage of not providing an accurate record for the teacher.

If you want to allow access to the quiz outside class via Moodle, Socrative has an Excel template to import questions. You can modify the template to give you an Aiken format version that will import into your Moodle question bank. This isn’t difficult at all and I have made a short video to show the process.

More, more, more!

Clearly there are other scenarios – a couple that seem worth trying are conducting formative multiple choice assessment as you are presenting content, and letting students complete questions at their own pace – but I haven’t tried them yet. One step at a time!

Over to you

At the end of the day, most of us will use the application that suits the way we create our content. For me, that is Socrative!

In the spirit of sharing practice, have you used Socrative? Or other quiz software? Can you share any tips, strategies or lessons learned?

Simon Thompson teaches Business Studies and Interactive Learning Skills & Communication at the University of Northampton International College and tweets at @bizzypeople.