The Socrative Quiz Building  Programme comprises two apps: Socrative Teacher and Socrative Student. Teachers create quizzes on a laptop via m.socrative.com. On enrolling educators are given a room number which is the passkey by which students can access their quizzes. Quizzes fall into three response categories: open ended, true/false and multiple choice. Quizzes can be teacher paced: moving on to the next question when they teacher wishes to; or student paced: progressing at the pace of individual learners.

Real Time Feedback Systems

The real value of a Socrative Quiz is that it provides detailed reports of all student answers, allowing for targeted feedback and personalized student tracking, which are both keystones of m-learning (John Couch, Vice President, Worldwide Apple Education, First Annual Global Mobile Learning Congress 2012, Al Ain, United Arab Emirates).  Reports can be live: illustrating how many students chose which answer in bar chart form, and post activity, documenting the discrete decisions of each student. If instructors design tests so that the same item tests the same linguistic phenomenon over a series of quizzes, it will be easy to discern if a student is making progress in a certain area or not. For example, if every grammar test item five targets third person ‘s’ and a student always gets question five incorrect, then both the student and teacher knows that remedial work is necessary in this area. Even if quiz design is carried out in a laissez faire fashion, students benefit from an analysis of their results.

 

An Element of Fun

Dr. Reuben Puentedura, creator of the SAMR model of change and innovative implementation, says that the gaming element of e-learning engages students and this seems to be the case in Space Race, a quiz set up that pits teams against each other in their attempt to drive their rockets the furthest, the fastest. Rocket fuel equates with getting all members of the team to answer a set of questions correctly, developing student interdependence and promoting student to student teaching.

 

Many Cooks Make Light Work

 

Socrative Teacher is generative in that quizzes created by one teacher can also be used by others through an invited share system. Student designed quizzes can also be created on a Socrative Teacher platform, encouraging lessons from the learners. For example, groups of students can decide upon the questions that should go into a quiz and whilst classmates work on alternative tasks, group secretaries can take it in turn to enter test items. The quiz is then used with the class as a whole. Such quizzes are often deemed to test what has been taught, and students report that they learn more from reviewing the learning items covered to decide what merits entry into the evaluative task, than from taking the test itself.

A Survey Tool and a Brainstorming Tool.

As answers are collated, the Socrative quiz is an ideal information gathering tool. For example, at the beginning of a semester students can write down important information, email addresses, learner preferences etc. and this is all stored in one sheet in the quiz report. Teachers can elicit information on which aspects of the lesson learners find most useful or least useful using an Exit Quiz. Similarly repeated questions, to which students have to provide different answers can be a fertile brainstorming device. For instance, students may be required to voice different reasons for becoming a vegetarian or for switching to alternative energy sources etc. The ensuing report provides all students with a comprehensive record of all ideas put forward, ready for selection and use in a writing or speaking activity.

In conclusion, I believe that Socrative can meet a range of classroom needs, whilst varying the interactive focus, and pace of a lesson. It seals students into a here and now virtual world, which they find motivating and the immediate feedback facility makes the learning experience very personal for them.

This review first appeared in Perspectives Volume 19 No.3 produced by TESOL Arabia and was published here with their permission.