By Kristen Rodick
Allied Health Science Department
Delaware Technical Community College
Think back to the last test review you gave in class.
How interested were your students?
Did all students participate or just a few?
If this sounds familiar, then you are among the rest of the instructors that are trying to find new innovative ways to increase student engagement.
I am an instructor for the Histotechnician courses, which are primarily hands on with little to no access to modern day technology. Trying to find new fun ways to keep students interested when instructing can be difficult.
Over the few years I have taught, I have found my students to be less engaged during test reviews. Typically, test reviews consist of discussing the test format and the subject matter being covered on the exam.
In the past, I have utilized the Jeopardy game to break students up in small groups and play for a prize such as candy or Delaware Tech gifts. Over time, the students seemed bored or unwilling to participate. I sent out an online survey asking about the game and to comment on what they liked or disliked. The results showed thirty-three percent disliked the game where as sixty-seven percent found the game helpful.
The students who disliked Jeopardy expressed they would not answer due to being embarrassed of answering incorrectly or needing more time to study prior to review. Even though the majority of the class liked Jeopardy, I still did not have the entire class’s attention and participation. This sent me to research what other useful technologies are around for instructors and students to use. Upon my research, I stumbled across Socrative and figured I would try this free application for test reviews.
Socrative, by MasteryConnect, is a free application that both students and teachers can use on any device or operating system. The system is designed for teachers to generate quizzes for students to answer during class time or at home. Teachers can also set-up a fun space race for students to have a friendly competition individually or in groups.
Socrative tracks student responses for the teacher to evaluate. The results can either be accessed in real time or viewed on an assessment report at a later time. All grading is done automatically for the teacher, which allows more time for material to be covered and gives a formative assessment that can be shared with other instructors.
Histology classes at DTCC are small, with only six students in each class, making group work a challenge. Socrative has provided more engaging individual activities, and also allows me the option to pair the students up in three groups of two.
Since discovering Socrative, I have transformed lecture exam reviews into an anonymous, fun, competitive activity that the students appreciate. My students are no longer cautious to answer questions, and unlike with Jeopardy, a team can’t rely on just one student to answer. All are involved.
One downfall to Socrative is that not every student has a smart phone or tablet to use in class. This can be challenging when we do a space race in class. All in all, though, the system is very easy to use and allows more time for open discussion in class on difficult material.
Socrative is a great tool in my courses and I hope that other instructors can benefit from this free application.
Get started for free at http://www.socrative.com/