For the past 18 months or so I’ve been encouraging the use of Socrative as a student response system in the classroom. Though in a moment I’ll mention a new alternative to Socrative, I still highly recommend Socrative to teachers from middle school through higher ed, face-to-face or online.
When I refer to a “student response system”, I’m writing about systems that allow teachers to request and gather responses from all students simultaneously and in real-time. In the past there have been a number of available products that involved students being issued a “buzzer” or “clicker” of some sort. Nowadays, we have tools that take advantage of student access to the internet from a personal device – and these are now being referred to as “virtual” student response systems.
Two things make Socrative stand out for me above other similar services. First, as a classroom teacher, I need tools that are simple and just simply work. You can’t get much more minimalist than Socrative’s display for both teacher and student. I can present and, simultaneously with little distraction, query the students and manage their responses without redirecting a whole lot of brain power. Secondly, Socrative is well-suited to a BYOD school environment as they offer a multi-platform, multi-device solution. Both teacher and student can use the Socrative system from just about any device that can view web pages. They also offer free apps for iPhones/iPads/iPod Touches and Androids. Screen shots from Socrative:
For those teachers who like to plan ahead, Socrative also offers a feature that allows you to upload quizzes in advance of a class and send them out with just a few key presses in the midst of a class.
But this week, I experienced a new competitor to Socrative, and I like it. It’s called “InfuseLearning” and it’s another free, web-based system. They do not offer an app for the iPhone or Adroid devices as far I as know, but that seems irrelevant since InfuseLearning is optimized well for working on the mobiles.
InfuseLearning is similar to Socrative in that it offers a simple, unobtrusive solution that easily integrates into a classroom environment where all students have internet access. Two features that InfuseLearning offers that excite me are the ability to request and receive from students a drawing (“Draw Response”), and the ability to force open a specific web page on the student devices (“InfuseLink”).
Screen shots from InfuseLearning: