Being able to actively engage students in their learning is one of the key challenges a teacher faces whenever they work with their learners. Engaging learners is one thing yet having an engaged learner will not necessarily mean that they fully comprehend the material being covered. A Student Response Systems (STS) can assist with both of these functions. STS provide the teacher with a raft of options for directing learning, checking understanding and reporting engagement. Tobin and Lozanovski (2012) discuss two different pedagogical uses of clickers – students’ perceptions and self-efficacy.
As part of the Wirelessly Connecting Youth for Future Success project we explored the use of Socrative, an STS. Being free (limits imposed) Socrative has great appeal to the cash strapped education sector, yet its capabilities are truly impressive. On its website Socrative describes itself, “As 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”. http://www.socrative.com/ However, I feel that this explanation actually sells the product short by citing its use as being in the classroom. Given its ability to work on numerous devices including a range of portable technologies teachers should seriously think about capitalising on its mobile capabilities.
This report is designed to provide a brief account of our first foray into using STS with disadvantaged youth with low level literacy and numeracy skills. One of the primary aims underpinning the Wirelessly Connecting Youth for Future Success project is to foster engagement with education through the use of mobile devices. Any learning that ensues in these activities is principally concerned with literacy and numeracy. Our experiment was undertaken away from the traditional classroom using the free wireless internet at a local food chain.
With the Socrative app pre-loaded on the students’ Ipads the teacher described the process for accessing her room. Socrative allocates a room number to each teacher for use with students. Students on the other hand simply have to type in the teacher’s room number in order to gain access to the questions. Once in the room the user is first prompted to enter their last name and first name. By completing this step the teacher is then able to monitor in ‘real time’ students progression through the exercise. Results may be exported and used for auditing purposes to demonstrate student engagement and/or attainment of a particular standard.
A video was taken by a student on an Ipad. It provides a brief overview of the students and teacher in ‘action’ using Socrative. Whilst on the surface this may appear a rather superficial use of this resource; this cohort voted it as being highly enjoyable and meaningful. Further details will be provided in the project final report.