Socrative (http://www.socrative.com) is a real-time response system that allows students to respond to questions seconds after they are posted by the teacher and will display the results for the teacher with the same rapidity. There are a number of points which make this an attractive piece of technology for education. Firstly, there is no need to create individual student accounts (or have them create any) to use Socrative– all that is needed is for students to enter a room number (supplied by the teacher) to access the quizzes and questions. It is (currently, at least) a free service that any teacher can sign up for and use with their students. It is cross-platform and runs cleanly on all types of device – desktop computers, laptops and netbooks, smartphones and tablets. There is no software to install (although you can if you wish install an app on Apple and Android devices) as everything is accessed through a web browser. It is easy to use for both teachers and students alike.
There are two different interfaces for Socrative—a student interface and a teacher interface, both with clear links on the Socrative homepage. When a student clicks the link for ‘student login’, they will be asked to enter the room number that has been supplied by the teacher. Once they do this, the teacher can then see how many students are in the room and begin posing questions to the students. Teachers can choose to create and launch questions and quizzes ‘on the fly’ during the lesson, or they can create a quiz in advance of the lesson and simply launch it when the time is right. The teacher can then choose to run a ‘teacher paced quiz’ (where s/he controls the pace of the quiz and students can only answer a question when it has been made active by the teacher) or a ‘student paced quiz) where students can answer the quiz at their own pace. There are currently three types of question that the teacher can choose from: multiple choice, true or false, and short answer.
There are three options for designing a quiz in Socrative: design the quiz directly in Socrative (very easy), import it from an Excel template, or import a community member’s quiz (it is possible to share your quizzes with other Socrative users and to make use of quizzes that they have created and designated for sharing). The teacher can also choose to randomize possible quiz answer choices and to disable immediate ‘right or wrong’ feedback if they so wish. When the quiz has finished, the teacher can choose to have a quiz report sent to their email address or to download it directly from the site (in Excel format). The teacher can also view the results in real-time through their teacher interface: multiple-choice and true/false answers are displayed in bar-chart format, short-answers are displayed as a list.
Socrative is a really smooth facility for any teacher who wishes to capture real-time feedback from students (the instantaneous nature of the facility makes it particularly good for AfL – Assessment for Learning – purposes). Version 2 of the product is due for release very soon (it is currently in beta format) and this will provide additional functionality and a new, brighter interface.