Cell Phone: Friend or Foe?
I know this is a contentious issue: cell phones in the classroom. While I agree that they can be an incredible distraction, they can have many uses. One of my favorite uses is having students use their phones as a student response clicker. While older systems required that you purchase software to add-on to another program like PowerPoint, get a receiver for your computer, and then purchase enough clickers for the class, newer systems are web-based and free.
Obviously, your students must have access to a device. Modern smartphones work (Apple or Android) and even newer non-phone devices like iPods connected to our school wifi will fit the bill. Students can also use tablets, laptops, or a Chromebook. Sweet Methuselah!
Our talented Ms. Hussey uses one of the sites, Kahoot, on a regular basis, has provided PD on use of Kahoot in the past, and is an excellent resource in addition to Mr. Rubino and myself (Reeves). Without further ado, let me introduce “the twins.’
Kahoot and Socrative
If Kahoot and Socrative are twins, Kahoot is the younger sister, the one throwing the parties when the parents are out of town. She’s loud, exciting, the life of the party. Kahoot uses flashy visuals and driving music to engage students. Socrative is the older sister, just back from a year at college. She’s a little more sophisticated, but can have a good time too. Socrative has more options when it comes to exporting data for your own or student use.
Metaphors aside, both of the twins give you the same result: easy to build or import slide shows where you can ask students questions to get immediate feedback. Both systems give students a way to safely and anonymously engage with your content and a way for you to track how each student is understanding your lesson in real time. Both give you a way to analyze sessions later and will grade for you. Both work from within any modern web browser (mobile too), and Socrative even has an app that teachers and students can download onto a smartphone.
My experience using student response has been overwhelmingly positive. Students love it and I get useful, timely data.