Friday, June 20, 2014

Socrative: A No Cost Class Polling Program

By Sean Scarpiello

In the past, teachers and students have described that class polling programs, such as Turning Point Technologies and others, have improved instruction in the classroom. Normally with these programs, students pick up their own remote before class which they use throughout the lecture. Teachers are then able to ask a number of different questions, and get their students’ feedback on different topics during lectures. While many teachers use these programs to ensure everyone in class understands key points, other teachers give tests and quizzes based on this technology where they get instant results. Socrative is a new type of software that enables teachers to use all of these same benefits from other polling programs, but without many of the downsides to these older methods.

When using conventional polling programs, students or teachers are often required to buy their own remote for marking responses in class. These systems do not run through the internet, so it is often difficult to keep track of class trends and the individual answers for each student in class. Socrative on the other hand does not have these issues. Teachers can get Socrative for no cost on its website and students can download the app for free on their tablet, smart phone, or other device. If students do not have their own portable device, they can easily access all of their class’ Socrative content online by logging into the website using any computer or laptop. Once teachers set up a class with the names of their students, they can post assignments and quizzes all through Socrative. Students can then log on during class when questions are posed in a PowerPoint, during lecture, or even a post-class questionnaire format.

Then, with the Socrative system, teachers are able to track the real time responses of the class as well as track the progress and success of each student in the class. Teachers are even given more flexibility with Socrative as they can make up their own questions or share questions with other teachers. Further, teachers can design a number of different question types such as multiple choice, true/false, or free response. One other benefit that teachers can expect from Socrative is that teachers can design questions to be incorporated into normal class instruction, part of a graded quiz, or turned into a game. No matter how the teachers decide to present the questions for students, they can be sure to easily track their class’ progress. Plus, pictures and other forms of media may be integrated into the questions, so students can evaluate and analyze visuals or tables of data to apply their knowledge and answer thought provoking questions. One last addition to Socrative is the Exit Ticket functions. With this, teachers can ask students to provide a short answer as to how they felt class went each day, what they learned, or what students found interesting during class discussion.

In comparison to other polling software, Socrative appears to be extremely beneficial to teachers and students. While teachers can get the same proven results seen with other polling programs, Socrative has additional benefits and comes at no added cost to students and teachers who have access to the internet. Plus, it is easy to use for both teachers and students and enables students to critically think and have fun with class instruction. In all, it is clear that Socrative is an excellent addition to any classroom as it is free and easy to implement into class where students can utilize technology to improve the quality of their education.


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