Engage Your Students Effectively with Socrative

Students and teachers have either the most simplistic or the most complex systems at their disposal when it comes learning online. Case in point: simplistic video conference solutions and elaborate Learning Management Systems. Given that the subject matter is already hard for many, trying and spending time to understanding a new tool that helps them learn is an extra burden.

They could use a solution that is somewhere in the middle. Socrative is a smart student response system that empowers teachers to engage their classrooms through a series of educational exercises and games via smartphones, laptops, and tablets. Like always, I’m gonna take it for a test drive, would you like to join me?

Overview

Socrative is super simple to use, and all the teacher has to do is login through an Internet connected device and select an activity which controls the flow of questions and games. Students will simply have to login with their device and interact real time with the content.

Overview

Overview

Responses to questions posed at students are visually represented for multiple choice, true/false and short answer questions. At the end of every planned activity, the teacher can view reports via an emailed Excel file.

Getting Started

With so much to offer and particularly when considering how over priced anything related education these days, it is hard to believe that this web app is available for free. Getting started is very easy, but is a bit weird. The sign up page says that the app is in private beta and you will have to submit your email id to join the queue. Now, immediately after hitting Submit, I got a welcome email detailing how to get access to the app.

Registering for an Account

Registering for an Account

Apparently, you don’t have to go through the step of registering your email for an invite at all. Head over to t.socrative.com, if you are a teacher and register for an account from a simplistic form. Don’t worry if the form and the rest of the app look huge and weird in your screen.

The developers in their endeavor to make the app mobile friendly, have embraced the same interface for desktop too. This user interface brings down user experience by quite a few notches.

Accessing the Room

Teacher's Zone from Resized Desktop Browser

Teacher's Zone from Resized Desktop Browser

After a few slides giving a head’s up about the app and its features, you should land on the teacher’s zone. Again, with a lot more options the user interface looks very ugly. Try resizing your browser from the maximized view till the interface is usable enough for you. At the top, you can see the room number. This is what you should circulate among your students. You can also get the count of the number active participants so far.

Students in turn should login at m.socrative.com by entering the virtual room number provided by the teacher. They will then see “Waiting for teacher to start an activity…” status message. Once you initiate an activity by selecting it on the main screen, the same will show up in their screens (more later).

Creating Quizzes

Creating a Quiz

Creating a Quiz

As mentioned earlier Socrative allows teachers to create multiple quizzes of various formats. The steps to create a quiz from the app aren’t many and is an absolute breeze to create one.

Adding a Multiple Choice Question and Answers

Adding a Multiple Choice Question and Answers

In the case of a multiple choice question, add the question and the choices that go with it and voila! you have a quiz in your hand. I couldn’t find a way to bring down the number of choices from five to three though.

A Quiz in Progress

Joining a Room

Joining a Room

If you are a student, follow the above mentioned steps to get into the room and wait for the teacher to start an activity.

Choosing the Pace of the Quiz

Choosing the Pace of the Quiz

When all the students have joined the room, you as the teacher can start the quiz. Here, you get to choose the pace at which the quiz will progress. This could either be a preset interval of your choice or the student can take his/her own sweet time to complete them.

Taking a Quiz

Taking a Quiz

If you happen to be a student, start answering the questions as they start showing up on the screen. Based on how the quiz has been set, you will either see live results or will get a report directly from teacher later.

At the end of each quiz, the teacher will get a detailed report compete the name of the students and the answers submitted by them. Use this to grade them or archive it for future use.

Final Thoughts

Socrative does one thing with gusto – minimizing the pain in learning and (teaching). This is evident from their choice of technology. Without making a native app for every desktop and mobile operating system, they have embraced the universal web app format. While this makes the app fit to run on any Internet connected device, it isn’t great to look at from a desktop browser.

It is evident that the developers have painstakingly worked to ensure that the app runs on mobiles as awesome as it will on a desktop. But I guess today’s web development technologies offer the ability to deduce from which browser the user is accessing the app and serve the appropriate version of the app’s user interface. Besides that, Socrative is golden!

Share Your Thoughts!

How much fun is it to learn and/or teach online? What apps do you normally use in your campus and classrooms for learning and teaching?


  • Jan Tell

    How do you add multiple choice items? I would like 10 for a vote. I guess I could have them text in an answer if it goes past 5. Is that my only choice?
    Just trying this out. Thanks!

  • P Gruver

    In response to choosing the number of multi-choice answers: when choosing multi-choice, provide as few as 2 choices or up to 5 and anywhere in between. You do not have to create 5 answer choices, but it is optional.

    Today when using the app on classroom iPads, I had a major problem with students having their test interrupted after having completed as many as 12 of the 24 ques. and having to go back and re-start the test. One student was “kicked out” 3 different times. Each time, it takes the student back to the beginning and they have to re-submit their name and begin again. Has anyone else had this problem?

    I finally had them enter via the internet to complete.

    Suggestion: Is there a way for results to be recorded in Alphabetical order?

    Otherwise, I like Socrative.

  • Jim

    NetClick.me does everything Socrative does and much more. It’s intercative allowing students and profs to re-use existing content and share it at the same place and time, greatly enhancing learning.

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