This week in my education technology class, we got to play around with interactive systems and experience then as students. We were then challenged to use those same systems as if we were teachers to produce a quiz or activity to fully understand them. We got to experience almost 10 programmes in a short amount of time and from both perspectives. We looked at each system from a flexibility and diagnostic/feedback standpoint as well. With this comprehensive look into each system, I have reviewed them under 4 categories, student use, teacher use, flexibility/variety of questions and diagnostic/feedback and have chosen my top 2 favourites and my least favourite for each category. Hopefully, this analysis will help you choose which website will be the most effective for you and your class!
- Kahoot: If any of you have ever experienced Kahoot, then you can understand why it is my favourite system from a student standpoint. I’m a pretty competitive person so any situation that pits me up against a fellow classmate immediately grabs my attention. The time crunch and points incentives make students even more engaged and keeps them on the edge of their seats. Although having to look up at the smart board to see the answers can be a little annoying sometimes, it makes it more of a class experience instead of each student on their own individual device. Its super easy to log on, there is no sign-up as a student which makes the whole experience more instantaneous and enjoyable.
- Spiral: I really like the quickfire quiz aspect of this system because it’s easy to use and effective but “discuss” is by far my favourite activity. Discuss allows students to answer a question in an extended response. Getting paragraph style answers in real time, where they can be discussed on the smartboard, is great on its own. But to be able to have students respond to their classmates work, where it is anonymous on both sides, creates a safe and inquisitive classroom environment for all students. Peer reviews are great for summative reviews, feedback and brainstorming and Spiral allows these conversations to happen where students can feel comfortable and confident to share their true opinions.
- Least Favourite- Padlet: Although I can see the advantages of Padlet like being able to quickly share and compile links, it was frustrating for me as a student. Everything moves so quickly when everyone is trying to insert their responses at once and I wish that the responses would stay in one place instead of flashing on and off the screen and flying around. Secondly, there is not a feature to allow multiple questions in the same padlet- each Padlet contains only one question. Although it is fairly simple to open another padlet, it would be nice to have multiple questions kept together as one package.
- Socrative: Socrative has so many great features from a teacher point of view. It gives the teacher the ability to review the responses of the entire class without worrying about participation and privacy issues. Furthermore, there is the ability to receive responses without imputing a question which is great because so often, when a teacher is in the middle of an activity they think of extra questions that pertain to their lesson. With Socrative you can ask questions spontaneously but still get the visual representation of students’ answers on the board for review.
- Spiral: This programme is excellent for teachers as well! There is no need to input a student list or have students create an account because they can use their google account that each student already has to quickly join the activity. The response can be anonymous or not and is up to the discretion of the teacher. The best part, it’s free- which is always a bonus for teachers who find themselves spending money out of their own pockets for interactive, educational technology.
- Least Favourite- Peardeck: Even though Peardeck would be excellent to leave open on the smartboard and might be really useful, it is crazy expensive. There is a free version/free trial, but it is very limited and once it runs out, you’re stuck with all these great plans for the programme’s usage and faced with either forking over the cash or throwing away your ideas. Of course if your school or district pays for it, there are many ways that Peardeck could be a great addition to your classroom!
Flexibility/Variety of Questions:
- Polleverywhere: There is so much question variety on Polleverywhere. There is the usual multiple choice, open-ended and ranking question types but also more interesting ones like a world cloud, a Q&A style question, survey and also a clickable image question where you can upload an image like a map or a picture of the human anatomy and have students click the image as an answer to the question. For visual learners, the clickable image option is genius.
- Peardeck: Peardeck has a great variety of questions and my favourite is the option to draw your answer. I think that it gives a personal touch to your answer when you have to create it rather than just choose an option. In class, we were asked to draw our response to a couple of the systems we tried out, and seeing the variety and how people chose to represent their emotions was really cool.
- Least Favourite- Kahoot and Plickers: Even though these are great systems, they both only offer multiple choice questions. Multiple choice questions can be used in a bunch of different ways but it can be quite limited when compared to other systems that offer more creative options.
- Plickers: The way that Plickers receives data is incredible- it blew my mind the first time I saw it. Each student gets a card that is unique to them and coincides with their name. Then, depending on the orientation in which the student is holding their card, the iPad maneuvered by the teacher, will pick up and record the answers of each student in real time. The teacher can immediately see who got the question wrong and the results from each question are saved.
- Socrative: Socrative is great for real-time responses but again the most interesting feature to me is in Discuss. When a student responds to the question, the responses of all the other students anonymously appear and students can read and respond to their classmates’ answers. Socrative make it so easy to open a discussion between students in a way that make students feel safe.
- I don’t have a least favourite system for this category! They all allow teachers to save the responses to questions and I think that is the most important part of this category.
Kahoot is super fun and I know I’m going to use that with my future classes. It’s an easy activity to help students relax, have fun and interact with their classmates in a way that is still productive. Spiral and Socrative will be be key in my future classroom. The anonymous discourse offered by Spiral and the easy interactiveness of Socrative will both be easy to implement in lessons on a regular basis. Although I didn’t mention Google Forms in any of the categories, and although it may be less fun than some of the other systems I reviewed, it is easy to use and an excellent to get feedback from your students. Google Forms is a game changer for summative assessment and student feedback.