How to Use the iPad App Socrative to Collect and Use Data from Students

By Sam Gliksman

Quizzing on your classroom iPads isn’t just a way to find out whether students have the right answer to a question. Think of it as a way to gather data from students. Looking at it from that perspective, there are a variety of ways you can gather data that can be collectively analyzed and used constructively. Consider the following examples:

  • Word clouds: Read a chapter from a book with your students. Using the Short Answer question in Socrative, ask them to submit at least three adjectives that describe one of the characters. Select and copy the responses in Socrative and then go to the Wordle.net website to generate a word cloud.

    Word clouds are a great way to visually depict anything that can be described in text. You may even print and hang the word cloud on the wall and try the same exercise later in the book to see if students have changed their opinions about the character.

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  • Statistical measures: Bring a small jar of jellybeans into class. Ask the students to guess the number of jellybeans in the jar. Create a Short Answer question in Socrative and ask students to submit their guesses. Select and copy the responses and then paste them into a spreadsheet where they can be sorted and analyzed. Use the data to demonstrate statistical concepts such as range, median, mode, and average.

  • Geographical data: Google Maps is a terrific tool for visualizing data that has a geographical context. Suppose you’re doing a family history project and you want to see where everyone’s families lived two generations ago. Use the Short Answer question and ask students for the name of a grandparent and the city and country in which they lived. A typical response might be something like “Joseph Smith, London, England.”

    Copy and paste the responses into any text editor and quickly separate the three fields on each line with a tab. Every line now has a name, city, and country — each field separated by a tab. Finally, go to the top and add an extra line with “headers” for each of the fields, separated by tabs. In the example case, you’d have “Name {tab} City {tab} Country.”

    Now copy all the data and go to the Batchgeo website. BatchGeo generates detailed Google maps out of your data. Paste your data into BatchGeo and click the button to create a map. Within seconds you’re presented with a wonderful Google map that has flags and detailed information over the location of each city you submitted.