Liam Fassam, Lecturer in Operations Management in NBS, has recently been using the Socrative student response system as part of a deliberate effort to increase learner engagement with the subject and provide formative feedback . Liam made a conscious decision to use the beta.socrative.com platform rather than the Socrative app to ensure an easy and quick in-class response. From an initial trial of this software, he has since begun using it on a weekly basis, having found the process so simple and straightforward that the time it takes him to pre-load up to 20 questions for use at the start of a session is down to around 10 minutes.
Initially looking for technology that could be used in the classroom in a way that he believed would be aligned to the demands of modern students, Liam has benefited more widely from this approach as he can obtain weekly analytics that enables him to evaluate student progress and build up a clearer picture over time. Conducting the quiz in groups provides a level of safety for students who may feel unsure as to their understanding or who are uncomfortable with the idea of identifying themselves on an individual basis. This also overcomes any potential accessibility issues within the classes. The group aspect has also given rise to some healthy in-class competition which he likens to a ‘football league’ feeling where groups are vying to be top of the league.
In addition to the MCQ approach, Liam also uses Socrative on an ad-hoc basis to get a feel for student opinion on a related topic. Where a show of hands around a controversial topic might not produce as accurate a response as he might have hoped for, the anonymity of the Socrative approach serves to overcome fears of potential exclusion or isolation on the basis of ‘non-PC’ answers.
So, what’s the catch? Well, at the moment Liam has experienced no technological glitches or difficulties, but that may be because he has only used it on-campus in Northampton where students have access to digital technology and a strong wifi connection. He would like to introduce its use off-campus, engaging his online learners around the world, but is aware that they may well experience bandwidth issues. Another plan is to look at ways of embedding it into NILE.
His advice for those who are interested in trying this out? Just do it! And if you do, be consistent because once you start, your students won’t want you to stop! In short, beta.socrative.com is a really good tool for subject-matter validation and Liam was genuinely surprised at the level of learner engagement and acceptance.
So if you are looking for a quick polling tool that makes use of devices already owned and brought to class by your learners, then why not give this a try?
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