My high school school is beginning the long and arduous planning for a 1:1 tablet program in which each of our students will have a device for school use by the 2014-2015 school year. This is such an exciting time for me as an educator and I find myself consumed with researching how to harness the power that each student will carry around in their backpacks. The iPads, tablets, laptops, and even smartphones are so much more than a glorified electronic textbook, but it can be difficult to navigate the sea of classroom technology resources out there and it can be even more overwhelming to think about recreating an entire curriculum to incorporate these tools!
I recently came across Socrative.com, which has the potential to marry our current curriculum and the technological demands of the future. Here are 5 things I’ve learned about this cool classroom tool along with my teacher thoughts:
1. The teacher sets up activities in advance or on the fly at Socrative.com. Then, students login on their tablet, smartphone, laptop, or other web enabled device to complete the survey, quiz, game, exit ticket, or other activity. Teacher thoughts: I love that this can be used by any web device and browser. It does not limit students to a brand or device, which is very practical for the real classroom.
2. The teacher can check in with students using formative questions that are multiple choice or true/false. Student responses will be instantly projected in a chart. Teacher thoughts: This is a great way to gauge prior knowledge and retention of lectures. If I am teaching the Prologue to Romeo and Juliet, I can ask about iambic pentameter from the previous poetry unit and instantly know whether we are on the same page. This limits that false effect of hearing feedback from only the top students who tend to raise their hands.
3. The teacher can create a quiz and have a report generated for easy grading. Teacher thoughts: I give reading assignments for homework regularly and follow them up with a quick quiz the next day. This is a way to get quicker, more efficient results so that I can focus on meaningful planning and not waiting in line at the scantron machine. Added bonus- it saves paper and scantrons!
4. The teacher can require exit tickets. Teacher thoughts: This is an easy way to assess comfort with the material and be sure that the hw is clear.
5. The teacher can collaborate with other users through their blog, shared resources, and more! Click here for the Socrative Garden. Teacher thoughts: We are going to have to learn a lot of new technology over the course of our careers; it is best not to add reinventing the wheel to our to do lists!
What do you think? Are you using Socrative or any other web 2.0 tool that you love? Do you use a laptop, tablet, or other 1:1 program? I’ love to hear your thoughts!
Emily Guthrie has taught junior high and high school English in Southern California for 8 years. She currently teaches grades 9-12, including AP English Language and Composition. She specializes in working with technology to enhance curriculum for English learners and enrichment students. She also blogs about fitness and motherhood at TheBusyMomsDiet.com.