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Retrieval practice with Socrative

This video demonstrates how low stakes retrieval practice can be supported by the use of an online quizzing tool.
‘Okay well done. Right, year 10 that’s good. You’re all getting going, that’s great. So Socrative. Just go on the website and login that way, okay? Alright, so you should all be starting to answer questions, which is great. Most of you have logged on now. I can see all your answers.’
So I started off as soon as my class came in giving them a Socrative quiz and the idea behind that was just to get them settled quite quickly, you know the faff of a beginning of a lesson, just get them straight into their learning; working at their own pace and also obviously very useful for me because I used it as a kind of formative assessment tool so I can see where they were going wrong, what their misconceptions might be very early on in my lesson to allow me then to focus on what I needed to concentrate on in the middle part of my lesson and what I needed to kind of expand on or make sure that they really understood.
I think that’s the basics of why, you know, Socrative. ‘So just work through at your own pace okay and I’ll come round and answer any questions but work through at your own pace please, without notes. I want to see what you can remember and at the end, towards the end of the quiz there’s some retrieval practice questions going back over the last few weeks to see what you can remember.’ I used the first portion of my Socrative quiz to address the misconceptions. We were talking about gravity, gravitational force, weight. There are a lot of words, key words, there that the students don’t understand; that they think they understand and they don’t really.
Then if I added some retrieval practice questions then we can look back over some of the topics we’ve done last week, a month ago just I’m not even really interested in how how they did, it’s more how do you think you’re doing on your revision? We’re midway through a topic. Have a think back, do you still remember the things that we did last week and the things that we did a month ago? Can I retrieve that knowledge from memory, so not with their notes, just seeing what they can access from their brains I think is good practice.
‘Year 10, these are just retrieval practice so if you don’t know them I’m happy if you carry on and try and go for the next question. This is really a guide for you to see what you might need to revise, what you need to look back over. Okay? Pause there. We’re going to have a look at, this is not, your name’s not up there so it doesn’t matter okay? Remember, this is the class, so as you can see here, which ones you think you’ve not done so well at? Question two and question six.
Okay, so question two: What unit is not a unit of force or weight? So which one isn’t? So the correct answer is kilograms. That is not a unit of weight. Now we are going to discuss this in the next lesson about why people get confused and what the misconceptions are. Can anyone think of why we sometimes get confused? Absolutely and what’s the classic question that we all ask ourselves? How much do you weigh? and what should we say really? ‘What is your mass?’ Brilliant! Okay, so a lot of you got that wrong but that was worth looking at. This is just a recap really on work that you’ve done in year seven and eight.
Okay, let’s have a look at question six. Oh this is retrieval practice. Which things are not true? Now the reason why I’ve done not is that most of these are correct, you just had to find the wrong answer in all of those. In the end the answer was D,. So Newton’s second law is essentially, you’ve learnt it as F equals MA okay? That’s Newton’s second law; it relates how force is related to acceleration. It’s all to do with mass and we’re going to recap over that later but that was great. So if you can all flip your iPads shut now, put them away.’
I would definitely say it helps because you can cover up the names, which is very handy from the teacher’s perspective because I think I showed the screen to everybody; they don’t know who’s got what result and they’re not really interested and I think for them that’s incredibly reassuring and also confidence boosting because they know which questions they probably got wrong but they can see that a lot of other people have got it wrong and for them, because they’re used to it now, it’s very low stakes. They get used to it, they do it straight away, they’re not worried, they’re not nervous, they concentrate on the learning and they’re not worried about the big test word.
So it definitely helps in that perspective. I think it’s just that instant feedback for the teacher. It’s so important having it right in front of me on my iPad as I can see, very quickly, quite a wealth of information. If I wanted to drill down to see which girl was struggling so that I could target her particularly in that 5-10 minutes, I could. So I just think it gives you really good flexibility but a very very good awareness that you wouldn’t necessarily get from old methods. ‘So read the question carefully, true or false? A netball has the same weight on earth as it does on Mars . Same weight? False. 100%. Well done!’
I think as you grow more used to using these apps, it just becomes part of your everyday practice and it’s incredibly easy then to just implement as part of your normal day, normal routines.

In this video, Kate, a physics teacher at Godolphin & Latymer school (secondary), shares why she uses low stakes retrieval practice at the start of her lessons and how an online quizzing tool has supported the approach.

In classroom footage, you’ll see how Kate and her pupils have established a habit around retrieval practice. You’ll see how Kate administers the quiz and uses it to revisit core knowledge and to check understanding ahead of new learning. In her interview, Kate describes the useful and actionable data she now has at her fingertips to help her plan and respond to pupils’ learning.

The tool used by Kate is:

  • Socrative – An online quizzing app available across Apple and Android devices

Whilst Kate makes use of iPads, consider what might enable you to achieve similar in your own context if you don’t have a 1-1 iPad scheme.

If you choose to focus on this case study as part of this week’s learning, you can share any initial reflections and questions with the course community in the comments space below.
  • How might any of these approaches be applied in your own context to solve a challenge you’ve identified?
When you are ready click the ‘Mark as complete’ button below and then select ‘Kahoot for retrieval practice and consolidation’ to see the final case study for this week.
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