Technology in the classroom can change your classroom from traditional, to up to date immediately. In this century, technology makes a significant difference in the classroom. It is important to stay on top of the trends and to incorporate many different forms in your classroom. I am glad I have been introduced to many different interactive classroom websites. Not only do they benefit teacher understandings on how your class is doing, but they provide instant test results and some are anonymous, which can make a student feel more comfortable contributing in.
As for benefiting the teacher, the websites are very self-explanatory. Prior to creating a quiz on a specific website, it is important to know if your website will provide you with the proper types of questions. For example, Spiral does not allow multiple choice answers, therefore if you wanted to test your students in a multiple choice test format, this would not be your ideal website. All the websites we were lucky enough to familiarize ourselves with were very easy and quick to set up. The complexity of the account creation was low and each website only took a few minutes per question to set up if you wanted to include photographs. We used Poll Everywhere, Padlet, Socrative, Spiral, Plickers, Get Kahoot and Google Forms. Now I will go more in depth with three websites specifically.
Plickers is an awesome technique to use in testing situations. Plickers can only provide multiple choice answers but is very fast and because each Plicker code is different it makes it very difficult for students to cheat. This is an affordable system and it only requires printed codes and one form of smart technology.
I found Google Forms very easy to use and set up, and you are able to create questions with pictures very fast. You do not need to sign up, if you have a previous Gmail account. It is a free resource that does not require a class list and the teacher has the benefit to moderate some of the features.
Poll Everywhere is the system I do not think I would use in the classroom. Because my goal is to teach elementary school, I do not think this system will be beneficial. The system requires everyone to have a handheld device, iPad or laptop and this is an unrealistic goal in the classroom. Although this was a free website, I think it is difficult to provide in depth answers. While using this in class, I noticed there were different questions available. however when trying to answer the long answer questions it rejected my text. Therefore I do not believe this website can be super reliable.
From a student perspective, I saw Kahoot as the funnest system. It was competitive and fun. You could see the class tense up as each question popped up. We all wanted to be winners. What student does not enjoy a little friendly competition? There are podiums presented at the end of the Kahoot quiz and it is very fast paced, so you can go through a quiz quickly.
The next system the student in me enjoyed was Socrative. It provided instant feedback, tells you the correct answer if you are incorrect and it can be anonymous if you get embarrassed with your name on the big screen. There was a feature called “Space Race” which divides the class into teams and it makes for friendly competition in a game format. What student wouldn’t enjoy playing a game? However, if you are a weaker student, it could cause a challenge when you want to win the race, but you just cannot read as fast as your peers. Socrative can be use on mobile devices or a computer, is fun and it allows the student’s to move quickly through the quiz. The teacher is able to monitor the quiz without having to point of students names and it is an easy to navigate system.
Padlet is the last system I am going to talk about. Although it can be anonymous, I do not enjoy that you can only have one type of question. I think it is a great system for collaborating ideas, but as a student, I find that there is too much on the screen at once. The responses are constantly scrambling around and it is too complex.
Many of the systems provide a flexibility in the types of questions provided for your classroom. Pear deck was my favorite in that you are able to have multiple choice, drawing, short and long answer questions. Because this system provides a variety of responses, it can attract many different learners and it is something I could see using in my classroom.
Socrative allows for either short answer, true and false or multiple choice questions. I enjoy this system and I like that you can add photos into the questions. You can also print off the individual and whole class PDF’s.
The system I would rank the lowest is Poll Everywhere. You are only able to respond through multiple choice or one word responses. You are able to create quick questions but you cannot keep track of the result. Variety of questions is key in a classroom and because this system does not allow different types of replies, I do not think I would use this system in my classroom.
For the Diagnostic Feedback I did not find all the systems as beneficial as I hoped they would be. Google Forms is definitely one that I think has great feedback. Not only can you see individual feedback, you can also see the groups entirety through a spreadsheet or a graph. Because Google Forms provides the teacher with the collective group graph, the teacher can then go and discuss with the entire class any of the questions that were challenging and were graded low. Google Forms also provides a response section after each question on each students quiz questions, so if the issue is something quick, the teacher can explain it on the question response.
Socrative is the second system that provides great feedback. Not only can the teacher tell immediately what students have answered the questions correctly, after the quiz the teacher is able to print a PDF of group responses and/ or of individual responses. The responses are instantaneous which provides the teacher the opportunity to discuss with the class any of the questions that were answered incorrect as well.
The system that I think lacks in feedback is Plickers. Although Plickers is my favorite system it provides no feedback. It shows the teacher the students who answers correct and incorrect answers but it does not provide the teacher the opportunity to respond to the students.
I thoroughly enjoyed each interactive system we have been introduced to. It is obvious which systems are my favorite and which I hope to use in my classroom one day. I think what is important to consider when using these systems is to remember the age group you are teaching and if the system is easy or too complicated for that age group. I know for sure I will use Plickers in my classroom. It does not require any additional technology other then the teachers handheld device, it is quick and simple for students to understand. I would also love to use Kahoot in my classroom. Because I personally enjoyed the competitive nature of Kahoot, I know my students would. Kahoot was like playing a game, only you have to answer quiz questions while playing. And I also think I would use Socrative. I enjoyed the space race again, because it is like playing a game. The games make the quizzes painless and very quick to get through. I am overall excited to try these interactive systems out in my classroom and I hope they are successful, fun and understandable for my students!