Tuesday, 18 September 2012


Something I did try the other day was Socrative.com.

Following a demonstration of it by two students on an inset day, I was excited about using this tool. For those who haven't heard of it before, it is a free web tool which allows the teacher to create and control a quiz; students access the quiz by entering a specific room which is only accessible via a specific serial number, and the teacher can see live responses as the kids answer the questions through their phones or computer. It reminded my of the Playstation game, Buzz. Plus, with its total lack of students' personal details required, it is a safeguarding dream too. In short, I walked away from the training session thinking 'free, fast, safe and use of technology: win.'

Alas, it did not go quite to plan...

I decided to do the quiz with my Year 9s who are currently studying spoken language and so I set up a six question quiz on accents, to use as a starter activity. In my head, I envisioned them all having smart phones and the activity taking 10 minutes at the start of the lesson.

The first problem was that only five kids actually had phones which could access the Internet so I divided them into teams, which took time and involved arguments ("why does E get to work with J and I can't?" and yes, I did say Year 9). Then, some of their phones wouldn't actually access the page (I'm looking at you, Three UK users) and so, in the end, we had to wait around for people to log in to the computers and then retry accessing the site. Then, of course, because they were working in teams, each question resulted in lots of noise and discussion, added to the fact that they were up and excited because they were using the computers and it was... hectic.

In the end, the task took 40 minutes of an hour lesson. It was a disaster: the kids didn't learn anything, I was stressed out, my classroom was in disarray but, in the end, we all had to laugh.

On reflection, I'd have all kids come straight in and log on to the computers. I'd avoid having the need for external resources too (I used YouTube for presenting the accents in the questions) as that added complication, and I would plan a lesson around the computers so there wasn't too much to-ing and fro-ing.

Lesson learned: do not rely on technology and/or kids!!! But, it is still a brilliant resource if it is used correctly. I don't think I planned sufficiently for it but, it was a real 'try it and see' lesson that didn't work this time but, maybe, with a tweak or two, it just might next time!


  1. If you don't already use it you might like www.zondle.com - works in a similar way but with games. Desktop and mobile versions.

  2. I have had great success (and a few technical frustrations) with Socrative over the past year. It was not clear to me if this will work for your situation but I do have a suggestion for you as an option. If you do not have enough devices, the students can share a device by taking turns taking the quiz. There is an option at the end of each quiz to "End and share with another user" (or something like that).

    What I do is have one student take the quiz while the other writes out the answer to a separate question on paper. When the first student finishes he does the written answer and the other student takes the Socrative quiz. This gives me the opportunity to design some questions that are best for Socrative while giving them a chance to write (and not type) an answer. And, it allows me to write their Socrative grade on the paper and return it the next day.

    I hope this works for you and good luck! Socrative is a great tool.


    1. Oooo that sounds brilliant, thanks :) Obviously, in English, getting them to write too is pivotal so I love this idea!! Also good to know Socrative is conquerable!!

    2. I use the Socrative questions to check that they did the reading and maybe throw in a couple of review questions from the day before. The writing is something to check understanding and is usually used as a bonus. I may grade them on HOW they answer (checking on their writing) and then the WHAT is bonus. It comes down to a "WHY? "question.
      Let me know if you have any Socrative questions! Twitter - tkraz