I remember as a school investing a small fortune in a ‘pupil response / voting system’. You were able to ask the children both closed and open questions and they could submit their responses to you digitally. You immediately had a record of pupils understanding of the lesson and, apart from having to input the questions in advance, it was very time saving as there was no marking to do.
However, they did have their limitations…
They were ‘non-rechargable’ battery powered, which made it timely and very expensive when they needed to be changed. The screens were quite small and tricky for some children to see. However, their biggest failing was they were a resource which just served one purpose, consequently they spent a lot of time in their case and eventually with the pressures of our work in education, they were soon forgotten about.
But with the emergence of the iPad in education comes a whole host of really useful and effective apps / web resources that make assessing learning easy, fun and simpler to integrate into the classroom! Here are three of my favourites!
If you have limited numbers of iPads in school then this is a great starting point. Register for a free plickers account and download the free app which works on the iPhone too. On the website are ‘plickers’ cards which are free to download and print. They look similar to QR Codes. Each child is given their own plickers card and it is good to get them to glue them onto the backs of their books so they don’t get lost. They can be used anonymously or if you wish you are able to simply copy and paste a class list into your plickers account so that each card has a child attached to it. This is the most useful way of doing it so you can see exactly which child understands the concepts you are covering in class.
Run the web application on your class PC and ask a question. The children hold up their Plickers card with their response (each side of the plickers card are labelled A,B,C or D which will relate to a possible answer or response you give to them). Amazingly all you have to do is launch the app on your iPhone or iPad and then scan the entire class from the front of the room. It reads all the responses and tallies the results. It literally takes 5 seconds! All the results are stored on your plickers account.
This has got to be my favourite at the moment. It’s a web resource and as such works on all types of device. Again, it’s free and again you first need to register for an account. It’s pretty easy to navigate and create quizzes and there’s a huge library of free pre-made quizzes for you to search and use for yourself. Simply direct the children to the Kahoot website and then launch your quiz. A code will be displayed on the board for them to input, and they will then be asked to enter a name.
The quizzes are teacher paced, which means you dictate the speed at which the questions are asked. The children submit their answers from the options on the board. What makes Kahoot so engaging is when every child has submitted an answer it display the top 5 quickest correct responses on the board. This is recalculated after every question, so it really fires up the competitive spirit in the class!
When the quiz is finished you get a very detailed spreadsheet of how well the children have done.
Socrative is a fantastic web resource / app that I feel works best in a 1:1 environment. There’s plenty of great blogs around about this app. Socrative enables you to ask a variety of different types of question, have teacher or pupil paced questions and even have space races where each child is a rocket that zooms across the board. It also provides very detailed analysis of how the children have done that can be printed off and placed into a file as evidence of assessment to inform future planning. It’s well worth checking out and as I say there are plenty of great blogs / YouTube clips about how to get the bets out of this great resource.