I have a Promethean ActivBoard in my classroom and use the ActivExpression system, which has in many ways revolutionized my teaching more than anything else. I give a majority (though not all) of my objective assessments using the ActivExpression system.

With the iPads, I was very excited to see that Promethean has an iPad app that simulates the ActivExpression system: ActivEngage. But it seems a bit elaborate to implement (downloading software, site license, etc.). My tech person updated my Promethean software but that seems to have fritzed out the hub that controls the ActivExpression system (and without ActivEngage ready to go yet). So for this morning’s reading quiz (not to mention first block), I had to come up with an alternative.

I considered making it a paper quiz, just because I had to, or at least writing it in ActivStudio, printing it for this class because ActivExpression wasn’t working, and then using ActivExpression for the other section on Monday. Instead, though, I figured I would (re)try a website I had heard about called Socrative: “Socrative is a smart student response system that empowers teachers to engage their classrooms through a series of educational exercises and games via smartphones, laptops, and tablets.” [from the website]

I had tried this a bit spontaneously with my Latin 3/4/5 class, but they didn’t have iPads, and so I had them use smart phones (basically polling the class to see who had smartphones and then grouping the class around those students). The experiment did not go particularly well: the students were reporting weird behavior on the part of Socrative (the quiz restarting, questions resetting, etc.) but I figured that’s what an experiment is for, to try things out and see how they go.

But I decided to give Socrative another try, hoping that the iPads would make things a bit smoother. And indeed I was correct. The quiz went very smoothly, the students seemed to enjoy it (requesting that we do more quizzes via Socrative), and there were no glitches. I did have them work in pairs (largely because we still have on iPad that isn’t net-ready), which likely made the quiz more palatable in general, but overall I’d say that it was a success.

To get started, you sign-up with them (via the website), they vet you somehow, and send an invite email to join up officially. You then create a virtual ‘room’ via a room number, and create from there. Students go to a student site, enter your ‘room’ and the quiz is there. Everything then is web-based. When the quiz is done, the site emails a report to you that looks like this:

So overall a success. Maybe we’ll be using Socrative more after all.

(Seems that the image didn’t show up; I’ll try to add that tomorrow at school.)

Here it is (only a few months after the original post….).

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