Evaluating homework can sometimes be a hard task for ESL teachers. Since there are already a ton of paperwork to correct, adding some more can render the correction tasks exhausting. On the other hand, students who don’t get rewarded for doing their work will sometimes omit to do them. Fortunately, there exists some free apps that allow instant corrections in order to help teachers. Socrative, an application designed to give real-time feedbacks to gauge students’ understanding is one popular app amongst ESL teachers. Several teachers have tried it and shared their experiences throughout the web.
Socrative is a fairly simple tool. It is designed for classes in which each student has access to either a computer or tablet (Apple or Android). First, the user has to create an account; teachers have teachers account and students have students account. Then, as a teacher, you have three choices; you can either start a quizz that you developed in advance, ask a quick question or do a Space Race. Space Race is a quizz designed for students to answer as fast as possible. They all have a spaceship racing along other students’ ones and when they get an answer right, their spaceship moves forward. Their goal is to make it to the finish line before the others. According to the Socrative‘s website, it makes students engaged and assessed with educational activities on interactive devices. It helps teachers gauge the students’ level through real-time quizzes and instant-results. It saves times to the teacher, so they have more time to discuss and develop their skills in their second language.
When making a quizz or question, teachers have 3 choices. They can either make a Multiple Choice question, True or False, and Short Answer Question. As an ESL teacher, it can be pretty useful when it comes to gauging the understanding of concepts. When teachers just taught their students the proper use of Simple Past, for instance, they can make a short and quick questionnaire about grammar rules. Teachers know instantly when students are wrong (students also receive instant feedback), so teachers can focus on weaker students to make sure they are on the same level as the others. It can also be used to run some tests as it keeps track of the results. It is an excellent app to test about grammatical rules or irregular verbs. The only downside would be that Socrative cannot be used to write texts or bigger assignments; on the other hand, there are plenty of other apps for that.
Doctor Yearwood, who did a review on Socrative, mentions that Socrative is of very good use since it does all the job a clicker does without the need of buying anything. In fact, even if the school doesn’t have portable devices for every students, students can use their own. Moreover, it does not require a lot of time to create quizzes. It is useful when he need to ask questions and have the students answer in real time to his inquiry. However, he thinks letting students use their portable devices is letting them use their “entertainment”. Without a proper plan on the way you are going to use the app, don’t think it is going to be efficient. In the end, he thinks it is a very good free tool and rates it 5 stars out of 5 despite its potential for distractions.
The website Graphite, which is known for reviewing apps related to teaching, also reviewed Socrative. They say that for a free tool, Socrative is simple and flexible. Again, like Doctor Yearwood said, Graphite mentions that if the students are willing to do the work responsibly, the tool is very good for learning. Feedbacks are very important in learning and Socrative is all about giving them instantaneously. In addition, they add that this system has the potential to support responsive teaching. What they found great is that instant polling encourages every students by giving them the opportunity to participate .
To conclude, Socrative is a very good application if you have responsible students. If your students understand it is a serious tool and that it is a privilege for them to use a mobile electronic tool, then Socrative will be of big help. As an ESL teacher, you seriously want to give it a try as it will make the correction a lot easier and may build an even stronger interest for your students in regard of your classroom.