What was it? About ten years ago that the clickers came out?

You know . . . clickers. Those cool handheld devices that you passed out to kids so they could answer questions during class, take quizzes, complete exit surveys, and respond during lectures.

Clickers. Every school seemed to have one or two sets of them at about $1500 bucks a pop. And they were very handy. Kids loved them. You got nice feedback on student knowledge. But they were expensive so you had to share the kits with other teachers and setting up the quizzes was kind of a pain in the butt.

Then along came iPods and iPads. We got something called eClicker Host. eClicker Host was, and still is, a junior version of the bigger, more expensive clicker systems. It didn’t have all the bells and whistles of the $1500 kits but at just $9.99 for the teacher mobile app, well . . . I can live without the bells and whistles.

And now?

Now along comes the next best thing. Called Socrative, this new student response system is easier to use than eClicker Host and is free. Yup. In ten years, we’ve gone from clunky, $1500 kits to something slick, easy to use, and free.

Of course, kids still need devices to access your questions but these devices can be any smart phone, mobile device, laptop, or desktop computer. With Socrative, there’s just a lot more flexibility in how kids can you get to your stuff than clicker kits or even eClickers.

After downloading the Socrative Teacher app, you create an account which can be accessed both through the app or online via a browser. Once in your account, you have lots of options to create, edit, and manage your quizzes and surveys. You can download reports following quizzes and even import quizzes from other teachers. Very easy to use and designed for multiple platforms.

Students can access your questions, surveys, and games via all sorts of web-enabled devices. There are specific apps for the different mobile devices and Socrative is web-friendly so even without the mobile app, kids can access your stuff on any browser, on any computer.

The Socrative folks have a handy blog with videos, user’s guide, and helpful articles.

  • In a social studies classroom, use Socrative the same way we’ve always used clickers for real-time formative assessment. You’re discussing the causes of the Civil War and want to see what kids are thinking. Grab your laptop, iPhone, iPad, or cell phone and quickly create a question and see live results come back. Your questions can be multiple choice, true/false, or even short answer.
  • Have kids work in groups to address a series of questions at the end of a lesson or class period. Create a unit quiz of MC and T/F and have Socrative grade it automatically and send you a Excel  or Google Docs spreadsheet report with scores, answers, and grades.
  • Ask kids to create question sets as a review activity and make those available to other class sections.

Free and easy to use. Access anywhere / anytime. Instant feedback to kids and almost instant reports to you. What’s not to like?

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