Gimkit, Quizlet Live, Socrative and the like – considering how to use them most effectivly.

Last week I found out about Gimkit, gave it a go right away and have really enjoyed using it – bonus is that the kids love it too. Now, given that I also rather like Quizlet live, Socrative, Quizizz and Plickers it might seem that I just enjoy jumping from one tech fad to the next. That’s definitely not the case. Whilst I am always quick to try out the next app that comes my way, I don’t see them as fads and I wouldn’t use them if I didn’t think they were worthwhile. I thought it would be useful to put a blog together which discussed how I use them and why, so here we are.

For me, the key to good use of these apps is to know what you are trying to achieve. If you want your students to have repeated exposure to certain vocabulary and grammatical structures and get used to recognising them and understanding them, then quizlet live will be ideal. However, if you want students to get better at producing the language then this probably isn’t going to be the best way forward. Individual use of the ‘write’ and ‘spell’ modes would be time better spent. Use of these tools has to be done for the right reasons, at the right time. Without this level of thought they quickly become a fun time-filler but not much more than that.

Secondly, question construction is very important. Apps like Gimkit, Quizizz, Plickers and Kahoot all allow you to write the questions yourself. Whilst this will take longer, it really allows you to construct good questions that require students to think about the structures you want them to practice. The problem with Quizlet live (and also using Quizlet sets to create Gimkit quizzes) is that it will automatically generate questions using the set you have made. This could mean that it puts very different options together and makes the answer very easy for the students to guess without really having to think much at all. This is where Socrative is great. I’ll admit that until recently I’d forgotten that it existed but I’ve set one up for my first lesson in the new year with year 10. Socrative allows you to have true/false, multichoice and most importantly short written answers to really test production of langauge.

So, what do I use these apps for?

  • Revision purposes at the end of a unit – Kahoot, Socrative, Quizizz and Gimkit are good for this.
  • Practice of new structures during a lesson – start with Quizlet live and then test using Socrative?
  • A quick snapshot of where a class is at before moving on – Plickers is great for this, as is Socrative.
  • Introducing new language that I think the class can work out but that we haven’t seen before – Quizlet live is probably the best choice here.

The great thing I find with these apps is that the students really get into any competition element and don’t realise how many times they are repeating structures and the amount of questions they are answering. They don’t all need their own devices, they can share, of course this doesn’t give you the clearest picture of where all individuals are at though so think about your purpose.

Well thats when and why I use these apps. I’m not suggesting my way is the best way, but I wanted to share, especially for people who think that they’re just a waste of time. They can be if used lazily (which I will admit to having done before now!) but they can also be great tools.

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