Socrative is a smart student response system that allows students to respond to questions on their smartphones and tablets.

The tag line on the Socrative website is ‘Engage the class’.

Michelle Blackburn, a senior lecturer in SBS, agrees that a benefit of the technology is student engagement:

“I had emails afterwards that said ‘Thanks’. ‘Can we get all the lecturers to use it?’ ‘It was really good.’ ‘Time flew.’”

Other benefits include:

  • The lecturer gets immediate information back from students, so students can co-create the learning experience.
  • A lecturer can check understanding and knowledge, and then focus on areas of weakness.
  • Student responses can be saved to spreadsheets, which make useful research and feedback data.
  • Allows more introverted students to contribute in group settings.
  • Narrative replies are possible – something which isn’t recommended with Turning Point technology.

Michelle’s first experience of using Socrative got out of hand; she had programmed in some questions with narrative answers, and was projecting the answers back to the students on the big screen. One of the questions was ‘Give me three words you use to describe yourself in your headline statement on your CV’. There were serious answers like ‘Determined, leader, confident’, and then there were answers where students started to have ‘fun’ with the technology – they ranged from ‘Drop dead gorgeous’, to ‘almost fully nude’ to the unprintable. Lesson learned. Now Michelle gets the answers back on an iPad and doesn’t project them, but shares them with the class in a manner that maintains her control. (Other types of questions like multiple choice would be safe to project).

One of the issues with Socrative is that students need access to a smartphone or tablet.  The SBS TEL team have iPod Touches for loan with the Socrative student app on them.  The likelihood is that most students in a class would now have access to a smartphone, but Lecturers could book out a few iPod Touches to lend to students who don’t have a tablet.

Students can access Socrative through a browser; they don’t have to download the app. However, the app just simplifies the process as students don’t have to type in the Socrative student URL each time the technology is used.

Please watch the video to hear more about the benefits and challenges of using Socrative:

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