I like the Clickers. Don’t love ’em but . . . yeah, they’re okay. I mean, they do some cool stuff but they’re expensive and can be difficult and time-consuming to set up.

What’s a Clicker? Good question. There are lots of different brands out there but they all work basically the same – a Clicker is a hand-held device that allows students in your classroom to give you feedback, answer questions, and vote in response to questions that you provide.

The technical term? Student Response System.

And if you have a set of Clickers and you have a system for using them that works for you, stick with it.

But if you don’t like the hassle of set up and use or don’t have the money to purchase a set, there are some alternatives. I’ve written about Socrative – a free and very easy to use tool that works on any web-enabled device including laptops, iPads, iPhones, iPods, Android tablets, and just about any smartphone. I’ve been pushing Socrative ever since. It just seemed too easy and too useful as an instructional tool not to use.

But I just found out about a similar tool that you may want to check out.

Called Infuse Learning, it’s apparently been around for a while. But I’ve been busy . There was football season, then the holidays, and now high school basketball. So . . . a little behind.

The tool itself is very much like Socrative. It lets you create a free account, create quizzes and stuff that kids respond to, collects the data, and then organizes it all for you. But Infuse Learning does add a couple of nice features. Unlike Socrative, you can create different rooms for different groups of kids. You can add images to questions and there is a text to speech option that allows users to have questions read to the user. Users can also use their tablets or phones to create a diagram or add a drawing to their answers. Just a few little extras to reach a bit wider group of learners.

How might you use this in a Social Studies classroom?

  • Use Infuse Learning 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 want kids or 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 Infuse Learning grade it automatically and send you a spreadsheet report with scores, answers, and grades.
  • Add images of primary sources or photos and have them respond to them as writing prompts.
  • Ask kids to create question sets as a review activity and make those available to other class sections.

So save some money. Save yourself some trouble. Try Infuse Learning. Let me know what you think. And if I’m missing some other tool that I need to know about, let me know that too.