Socrative – Engaging your students

“Sócrates” by  Carlos Blanco. Creative Commons licence CC BY-NC-SA
Sócrates” by Carlos Blanco. Creative Commons licence CC BY-NC-SA

About Socrative

Socrative is a smart, yet simple, participant response system (PRS) which turns students’ smartphones and tablets into ‘virtual clickers’. The system allows the tutor to engage with their students through a series of interactive polls, quizzes and games that they have devised to check their students understanding of the course material during face-to-face lectures.

Socrative derives its name from the ancient Greek philosopher, Socrates (470/469–399 BC), and in particular, the Socratic Method which is a form of inquiry and discussion between individuals, requiring the individuals to ask and answer questions to stimulate critical thinking and to illuminate ideas.

Getting Started

Tutors can create a free Socrative account using an e-mail address or a Google Mail account from either a PC or a mobile device. The tutor will be given their own ‘room’ in which to create polls and quizzes, though it is advisable to rename the ‘room’ to something that is easy to remember (or include the ‘room’ name in any PowerPoint presentations being used). The ‘room’ will be the means in which students will gain access to the polls and quizzes, therefore students will not be required to sign up and create an account.

Socrative currently offers three question formats: multiple-choice (these can be turned into multiple-response), true or false, and short answer. Questions can be enriched with the inclusion of images and/or feedback. The site is supported with a useful help site and a YouTube channel.

The Benefits

  • Socrative is free.
  • The software is simple and easy to use.
  • Requires no additional hardware (e.g. no clickers).
  • You can create multiple quizzes.
  • Students can respond ‘anytime, anyplace, anywhere’.
  • Good for concept checking and for checking class understanding before, during and after the lesson.
  • Can create games out of your quizzes.
  • Results can be made immediately available.
  • Results can be downloaded in Microsoft Excel.
  • Socrative has very good supporting help materials and videos.

The Barriers

  • Limited question diversity (MCQs, T/F, short answer).
  • Limited to 50 concurrent users.
  • Does require students having access to a smartphone, tablet or laptop.
  • No Microsoft PowerPoint integration.
  • Wi-Fi enabled room.

Getting Access

Tutors can download the Socrative ‘Teacher’ app from Google Play or iTunes. Alternatively, they can log on to a mobile friendly website.

Students can download the Socrative ‘Student’ app from Google Play or iTunes. Alternatively, they can enter the ‘room’ via a mobile friendly website.

Pedagogic Value

Such a tool could be used to increase student engagement (Addison et al., 2009) and classroom interactivity (Blasco-Arcas et al., 2013), provide instantaneous feedback, stimulate peer instruction, check and deepen students understanding of the course material (Arteaga & Vinken, 2013).

Where Next?

There is a very helpful and comprehensive user guide that is available from Socrative for tutors who are interested in giving this service a go. Alternatively, watch the video below that gives a brief overview of the Socrative tool.

If you would like to discuss how Socrative could be useful to you, please contact your Faculty Learning Technologist and arrange for a chat.

References

Addison, S., Wright, A. & Milner, R. (2009). “Using Clickers to Improve Student Engagement and Performance in an Introductory Biochemistry Class”. Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education, 37(2), pp. 84-91. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/bmb.20264 [Accessed 24.2.2015].

Arteaga, I.L. & Vinken, E. (2013). “Example of good practice of a learning environment with a classroom response system in a mechanical engineering bachelor course”. European Journal of Engineering Education, 38(6), pp. 652-660. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/03043797.2012.719000 [Accessed 24.2.2015].

Blasco-Arcas, L., Buil, I., Hernández-Ortega, B. & Sese, F.J. (2013). “Using clickers in class. The role of interactivity, active collaborative learning and engagement in learning performance”. Computers & Education, 62, pp. 102-110. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2012.10.019 [Accessed 24.2.2015].

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