Digital Feedback without Clickers

Now that all our students are connected, I’ve had teachers asking for a student response app that is cross platform, to replace a set of clickers as a means of collecting and providing feedback, or conducting real time formative assessments.

Why Feedback is Important

Feedback is among the most powerful influences on how people learn. It is a vehicle for unlocking student motivation and perseverance. The feedback provided by students to teachers is the most important.

How Technology can Facilitate Feedback

Using technology can help teachers insure that feedback is:

  • timely, occurring during the learning
  • personalized for each student
  • criterion based, not advice or praise
  • referencing the learning target
  • stating what is right and what is wrong
  • consistent
  • provided anonymously from students to teachers when appropriate
  • used to identify patterns in student errors
  • efficiently gathered and analyzed
  • ongoing, providing opportunities for students to apply the feedback and try again


Socrative is an app that I would recommend. There are several things that I like about Socrative:

  • Free
  • Works on any device that connects to the Internet.
  • Doesn’t require the installation of any software on laptops/netbooks or any device. Students access the activity by navigating to the webpage and putting in the teacher provided room code.
  • It has free apps for both iOS and Android mobile devices that students can choose to install, but not necessary. There is also a teacher app so that teachers can use their mobile devices to create/administer tests and not be tied to a desktop station.
  • Student accounts do not need to be created; no usernames and password;
  • Teachers start a quiz in seconds, providing questions verbally.
  • It has short answer as well true/false and multiple choice (which can have more than one right answer.)
  • It provides a spreadsheet report of color-coded responses making it visually apparent which students have mastered what.
  • Teachers can share quizzes with other teachers.
  • Questions can be sent to students in a random order.
  • Teachers can choose to provide immediate feedback, showing the student if an answer is right or wrong.
  • Teachers can easily display the results in real time for the class.
  • It’s easy to use.

How it Works

This video from demonstrates how Socrative works, including how to create a quiz and administer it. You can create a quiz on the website, or import a quiz using their provided Excel template.

This video from demonstrates how to quickly conduct a verbal quiz/poll.

If you are worried about students submitting inappropriate responses when you have the responses displayed for the class, just freeze your projector while the answers roll in. Once everyone has responded, you’ve determined there’s nothing inappropriate, and the quiz is no longer active, unfreeze the projector and display the responses.

The Possibilities

Socrative can be used for many strategies. It can gather student feedback at the end of class in the form of an Exit Ticket, or during class at a Hinge Point (a point at which you don’t want to move on to the next step unless the majority of the class has the first step mastered). It could be used for pretests or Entrance tickets, brainstorming, and team building. You could also use it to maintain student engagement during a video. Pause the video, verbalize the question and watch their responses roll in. Use the Space Race feature with small groups to add a bit of competition fun to the lesson.

More Information

The Socrative User’s Guide will explain even more features. See the Socrative Garden blog for even more ideas on how to use Socrative in the classroom.

Other Tools

Other digital feedback tools include: Poll Everywhere, Google Forms, and Moodle Quiz, Choice, or Feedback activities. For English teachers providing feedback on writing, Socrative is not the best tool. I would recommend using Google Docs to provide digital text comments, using Google Docs with a screencasting tool such as Jing to provide audio comments, or using Audacity or Audioboo to record and share audio comments. That’s another blog post.


One thought on “Digital Feedback without Clickers

  1. Pingback: Socrative | WIS Tech Tuesdays

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