Using Socrative to Build Student Engagement in Gen Ed Classes

Classroom response systems (“Clickers”) have been shown to promote student engagement, but most systems require dedicated devices. In order to move students into deep learning modes, most systems also require instructors to prepare careful banks of multiple-choice questions before class begins. Socrative, a program originally developed at MIT, can be used in the same ways as other systems, but offers more functionality than most, plus an extremely simple and easy to learn user interface, and a totally different approach: using a dedicated web site that can be utilized by anyone with a smart device, it lets instructors use a variety of question types, including open-ended questions and one-minute reflection/feedback activities suitable for the beginning or end of class.

This brief presentation will encourage audience members to engage using the devices of their choice while learning and experiencing several ways the program can be used. Particular emphasis will be given to the pedagogical challenges presented by required General Education courses in Humanities and the Social Sciences, where students sometimes self-select to make their busy schedules work out, and come into these courses with a tremendous range of backgrounds, skills, and levels of interest in the subject matter.

The presentation will also touch on the need to deal with equipment inequality by promoting group engagement in problem solving, thus leveraging a possible weakness of the Socrative system into a way of taking advantage of student preferences for social kinds of learning.

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