In the past decade, the use of personal digital devices like iPads and Chromebooks has proliferated in classrooms worldwide, changing perception of the devices from a classroom distraction to a powerful tool that benefits learners of all ages and capabilities.
Creating a Comprehensive Digital Assessment Package
The devices not only provide students with access to endless information at their fingertips but also prepare them for a technology-driven world outside of school. And as the capabilities of these devices increase so does the need for compatible apps to maximize their effectiveness for educating students.
Without a digital platform to share classwork and communicate feedback between teachers and students, it is virtually impossible to fully integrate any technology into any curricula, regardless of subject. Since 2012, Showbie’s workflow app has provided an easy way to share classwork instantaneously across all digital devices, enabling educators to transcend beyond the boundaries of a traditional classroom in both teaching and learning. Because teachers can mark classwork in a fraction of the time it took with paper and pen, they can maximize classroom time by focusing on student growth rather than on completing paperwork.
Beyond workflow and feedback tools, however, Showbie continues to search for innovative ways to provide an even broader array of essential classroom tools that teachers love to use and truly add value to the classroom. As such, the recent acquisition of Socrative is a natural fit with Showbie’s vision. While Showbie’s platform specializes in streamlining feedback for daily task assessment, Socrative is a leader in digital formative assessment. Socrative allows teachers to quickly create and share quizzes, quick questions, polls, and exit tickets to assess student progress, thus working in tandem with Showbie to provide teachers with one of the most comprehensive, real-time digital assessment packages available.
Like Showbie, Socrative works across all personal digital devices – so regardless of whether a school adopts a shared or a 1:1 device model, the apps work together to create a truly seamless digital classroom. Teachers no longer need to upload paper tests and quizzes to Showbie for marking and feedback – they can create them digitally through Socrative and share them through Showbie for distribution to students. Not only does this save time, but it allows teachers and students to have full access to all classwork, tests, and quizzes for a complete record of an individual’s learning history in a subject or class.
Showbie and Socrative understand that no two students are the same. Together, the apps leverage digital tools to create the transparency needed between teachers and students to establish a clear road map for a student’s individual learning path. The three schools below feature both single and schoolwide users of Showbie and Socrative in the classroom, and all agree that using the apps together has created successful, independent learners who are prepared for a bright future outside of the school environment.
Blind Brook High School (New York)
Blind Brook High School recently invested in technology to provide a modern learning environment for its 450 students. With a 1:1 Chromebook model, the school’s vision is to find ways that technology can enhance education while differentiating learning for students at all levels. Charles Van Hollen, Interim Director of Technology for the Blind Brook-Rye Union School District, has advocated for technology integration at all schools in his district.
“When deciding to implement 1:1 devices in middle and high school classrooms, our goal was to create a transparent learning environment between teachers and students,” explains Charles. “Technology allows our teachers to increase their involvement in a student’s learning process because they can keep better track of student growth through instant feedback and file sharing.”
Marko Markolovic, a Blind Brook social studies teacher, agrees that transparency is of utmost importance when creating a successful learning path for his students. However, because his students use both iPads and Chromebooks in the classroom, Marko had difficulty finding a single platform that worked with both devices to streamline digital workflow and communication with his students – until he found Showbie.
“I use Showbie as the student management system for all of my classrooms because it allows me to communicate with each student instantly and keep a record of all feedback and assignments in one location, regardless of which device they are using,” says Marko. “And because students and parents can also access the same information through Showbie, we can work together to ensure that students are on a path toward success in my classroom.”
As an advocate of digital transparency in the classroom, Marko wants students to have a comprehensive understanding of their progress in his class by sharing both daily assessments and test scores in a timely manner. A few years ago, Marko discovered Socrative, an app that not only allowed him to create digital tests but also to instantaneously share results and feedback from each test directly through Showbie.
“Showbie and Socrative are an ideal combination for digital assessment in my classroom,” explains Marko. “Both products are so easy to use, and my students reference the apps interchangeably without any issues.”
Marko also believes that powerful tools like Showbie and Socrative encourage students to take more responsibility for their education by having access to their complete learning history in a given subject.
“While I use transparency to adapt my learning environment to each student, I know that students are fully capable of correcting their own learning course if given the chance to do so,” says Marko. “There is no reason that students should have a lag in knowing how they are performing in class. Now, with the ability to see the immediate results of their hard work through Socrative and Showbie, students are in control of what they need to do to improve their understanding of a subject going forward.”
Ylitornion Yhteiskoulun Lukio (Finland)
Ylitornion Yhteiskoulun Lukio (YYKL) is one of the few private schools in Finland, serving grades 10 to 12 with a challenging curriculum that prepares students for a successful future. In early 2018, YYKL was awarded an “eTwinning School” label and two “quality labels” by eTwinning, an online community of schools that collaborate on projects and share ideas to promote professional development for educators across Europe. As one of just four Finnish schools recognized by eTwinning in 2018, YYKL has demonstrated through its ambitious technology plan that it is a pioneer in digital practices and exhibits innovative and creative pedagogical teaching methods that promote collaborative learning at the school.
In 2013, YYKL became the first upper secondary school in Finland to implement a 1:1 iPad model, prompting other schools in the municipality to go 1:1 within just a few years. Sari Lantto, YYKL Principal recalls the decision to implement a 1:1 iPad model at YYKL.
“Though we are a small school, our students represent a diverse group of learners,” says Sari. “In order to support each student’s needs, we looked for a way to differentiate our teaching pedagogy and found that the iPad allowed us to accomplish that.”
Shortly after introducing iPads into the school’s curriculum, Sari learned about Showbie’s workflow platform at an Apple conference and immediately implemented the app schoolwide. Teachers and students now rely on Showbie to keep track of everything school related, from daily assignment organization to communication with peers.
“Showbie has become the core of our digital learning environment at YYKL,” says Sari. “Our teachers use every verbal and written tool Showbie has to offer, whether it’s sharing resources with one another or communicating with students. Showbie is truly the best app for a 1:1 classroom because it has freed teaching and learning from the time and space constraints of a traditional classroom to create independent learners at our school.”
YYKL is also focused on using their digital resources for ongoing assessment, basing a significant portion of student evaluations on individual digital portfolios and work created with iPads. Since Finland’s new national core curriculum was introduced in 2016, YYKL is even more focused on how they can leverage their digital tools to improve student assessment, and found that Socrative is an excellent tool that works with Showbie to support continuous, timely feedback and self-assessment.
“Working with the Socrative and Showbie apps together over the last year has allowed our students to independently track their progress in a subject,” explains Sari. “Students use the immediate feedback from Socrative’s quizzes to self-correct their own work. Many students even request to take Socrative quizzes on their own to see if they are on track for an upcoming test, which has helped them tremendously.”
Though the majority of exams are distributed digitally since introducing Showbie and Socrative, some teachers still distribute exams on paper. With Showbie, teachers have been able to digitize traditional paper exams through creating tests on the Pages application and sharing them as PDF files via Showbie for marking and feedback. Socrative provides a more streamlined method for the creation and distribution of digital tests and quizzes in one single application, and as teachers gain more experience with using Socrative for creating and distributing tests, they are more likely to distribute digital rather than traditional tests.
“Since we started using Socrative more regularly, the percentage of digital exams has grown to almost 100%,” explains Sari. “Even those teachers who still preferred paper quizzes and tests only a year ago are now creating digital exams.”
Sari can personally attest to the benefits of using Showbie and Socrative in the classroom, as she is also a Swedish language teacher at the school.
“It’s been only a year since we started using Socrative regularly for digital testing assessment, and my students already prefer using this method over paper or PDF files,” says Sari. “Showbie and Socrative are also compatible with each other, which cuts marking and review time even further. I can upload Socrative test results directly into each student’s Showbie folder for marking in a fraction of the time I could with paper and pen.”
As a Principal, Sari is also responsible for making sure her students are ready for the world beyond YYKL, whether that means preparing them for further education or a career upon graduation.
“It’s our job and goal to academically prepare our students for further education and eventually life beyond the classroom. I’m confident that using iPads, along with Showbie and Socrative, prepares them to overcome any technological or academic challenges they will face in the future.”
British School Muscat (Oman, Middle East)
British School Muscat (BSM) is a top-performing British International School in the Middle Eastern country of Oman, serving its 1,200 students ages 3-18 with a rigorous British-based curriculum. BSM was recently awarded International School of the Year by the Independent Schools Parents Magazine. With its student body representing over 50 different nationalities, BSM faces a unique set of challenges when creating a learning environment that unifies students while also encouraging them to excel in the classroom. While BSM is not yet 1:1 with devices schoolwide, it is beginning to see the benefits of using the technology to overcome these challenges through teachers like Rosie Kolster.
Rosie is a primary school French language teacher (Year 3 to Year 6) and has the only 1:1 iPad classroom at BSM. When looking for ways to use her devices to help students grasp the language, she found that Showbie gave her the ability to provide both written and verbal feedback to her students in one location.
Rosie has made vocabulary slides with the correct pronunciation, grouped them by unit, and saved them in a folder in Showbie to help students refer to the pronunciation whenever they need to. “The key to mastering any foreign language is to speak it, and the verbal feedback I give my students through Showbie is absolute gold,” explains Rosie. “I can listen to each student’s word pronunciations and correct them verbally for review at any time. Their overall pronunciation of the language has greatly improved.”
Rosie has also seen the communication gap between home and school decrease with Showbie because she gives all 400 of her parents access to their child’s Showbie accounts.
“Since I started sharing student portfolios with parents on Showbie, I have not had one single negative encounter with a student or parent,” Rosie explains. “Parents can easily access Showbie’s user-friendly interface, and they are excited to see what their child is learning in class regularly rather than waiting for a parent-teacher conference a few times a year.”
BSM is focused on creating “high-performance learners” by encouraging students to embrace challenges and focus on self-motivation to maximize their academic outcomes in school. Technology fosters this teaching strategy, as it gives students the tools to become more independent, self-aware learners who are in control of their individual learning paths. Rosie believes that by giving students access to all grades and assessments, they are more apt to improve their outcomes in a class. Since Rosie began using Socrative to digitally create and distribute tests, she has shared test results immediately with her students and found that this real-time transparency has motivated her students to perform at a higher level in her classroom.
“Socrative’s digital tests provide instant results to my students, allowing them to reflect on the questions they answered incorrectly,” explains Rosie. “Because of Socrative’s easy-to-use platform, I encourage my students to retake each test until they achieve a 100% score, and the majority are completely self-motivated to learn from their mistakes and work until they answer every question correctly.”
Students can also make learning fun on Socrative’s app through quiz games like Space Race, in which students compete against each other to see who can answer the most questions correctly. Rosie has used Space Race several times in her classroom, with positive results.
“I really enjoy using Space Race in my classroom,” says Rosie. “Students thrive on the competition and it keeps them engaged with whatever we are learning in class.”
“Now that all of my students are completely adept at accessing all of their coursework through Showbie and Socrative, I can still complete my daily lesson plans regardless of a shortened class schedule,” says Rosie. “I can focus on my current curriculum, and students can always access their past assignments for review if they need it, without sacrificing class time.”
Showbie and Socrative Together Maximize Student Potential
When used together, Showbie and Socrative create a transparent digital learning environment that encourages students to become mindful, independent learners. While each of these three schools has used the Showbie and Socrative apps in different ways, all have shown that when students have access to a complete record of their classwork and assessments, they are highly motivated to take learning into their own hands. Combining the two apps on any digital device gives teachers the comprehensive learning assessment package they need to keep track of individual student progress and gives students the power to maximize their potential in the classroom.