Friday, March 21, 2014

Socrative Space Race: A RAD lesson that makes learning fun!

An extension of my last post, "Making your lessons RAD" (Relevant, Adaptive, Dedicated to education). 

What is Socrative?
Picture this: Your students are laughing, engaged in the learning, competing against each other, and having fun, all while taking a quiz! It can happen! If you've never used Socrative before, I highly recommend it! It's an interactive student response system of quizzes and games that you can customize with your course material and that your students can access using the web or a mobile device (using the app). My students were always engaged and competitive (especially in my Sports & Entertainment Marketing class) while being assessed. Imagine that! 

Watch this short informative video to see how Socrative works.

Space Race!
Let's say that you want your students to review for a test. Maybe you have a game you play (my kids always loved Trashketball!). Maybe you have a review sheet they complete on their own time. Consider changing it up for the next test review. Take that review sheet and convert it to a Socrative Space Race! 

  • Create a Socrative account and log in
  • Go to "Manage Quizzes" --> "Create a Quiz" --> "Multiple Choice" (it's easier to grade than Short Answer). If your review sheet is in a Word document, it's easy to copy and paste the questions into the Socrative quiz. Otherwise, just type the questions individually. 
  • Save it 
  • Click "Space Race - Run a quiz as game". 
  • Select the quiz you just made of the review questions. 
  • Select the number of teams - I grouped my students into threes. (You can have them compete individually, but there is a limit of 10). They can either gather around a computer (easier for everyone to read the questions) or a device (cell phone or tablet). So for a class of 30 students, I had ten teams.
  • Check the box to Auto-assign team colors. (It seems to work better that way).

  • Click Next and tell your students to go to
  • Before you give them the Room Number to join, remind them that their team space ship will only move forward if they answer the questions correctly, so they need to be ready to think hard! Now announce the Room Number and watch the space ships go!
  • Display your screen to the class so they can see the live results!
  • As students finish the race, tell them they can close the web page and wait until everyone is done. 
  • After everyone is finished, you will then click "End Activity" and "Download Report". 
  • Open the downloaded Excel spreadsheet to see the results. It's up to you whether to give grades or use it as a self-check. 
  • Share a copy of a quiz with another teacher. I'll admit, I didn't even create the first few quizzes on Socrative myself. Another marketing teacher across the district graciously shared copies of his quizzes with me. That really helped ease me into using Socrative. 
  • Glitch. Sometimes the students must click on an answer more than once for it to accept. It can be frustrating!
Here's a short and sweet video demonstrating how a teacher uses the Socrative Space Race in his class! Love it! 

I hope you find the Socrative Space Race to be as RAD as I do!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Making Your Lessons RAD!

When choosing educational technology for a lesson, ask yourself, is it RAD? RAD stands for Relevant, Adaptive, and Dedicated to education. Whether you are updating the curriculum or starting from scratch, every Ed Tech lesson can be RAD

Is the technology relevant to the students and to the lesson? 

Can the technology be adapted to the curriculum and to the standards?  

Dedicated to education
Is the technology dedicated to improving student learning? 

Why being RAD is cool
When analyzing a lesson, make sure that the technology you incorporate has purpose. It should engage the students and get them excited about the learning. As a result, their assessments will be impressive! Most importantly, dedicate yourself to using the technology and don't give up if it doesn't work perfectly the first time. I know it can be scary to introduce something new to your already wonderful lesson, but keep in mind that amping it up with technology doesn't have to be hard or mean changing the learning outcome altogether. Rather, it's just more rad than before. :) (Can you tell that I love the word rad?)

Students today learn differently from those even five years ago. They have anytime-anywhere access to information with mobile technologies. They have the ability to instantly connect with others globally via social media (eg. Twitter, Instagram, video conferencing with Google Hangouts or Safari Montage Live). They can crowd source and curate like never before. And schools are changing their mobile device usage rules to allow for BYOD and one-to-one. So you owe it to your students (and to yourself!) to revamp those oldie-but-goodie lessons every now and then. Make a mental RAD checklist before you implement any technology in your classroom and you and your students are more likely to enjoy a positive, educational experience. Make it a lesson that you can be proud of! Make it RAD!