Socrative 1

Over the course of the first semester of 2015-2016 I have been using Socrative as a tool for interaction during my first year lecture series (Introduction to the Ancient World). The semester before that, my experiments with Mentimeter were more or less successful. More or less, for the reason that although I could not pinpoint the exact added value of using this tool over, say,  students raising their hands when I ask them something. Even when groups are big, this is an option. My motivation to try asking quiz/online questions again became more pronounced after Eric Mazur came to Leiden and explained his use of classroom-voting: https://youtu.be/wont2v_LZ1E . The main gain is, he argues, that students commit themselves to a particular answer. If they are then stimulated to discuss the different answers they have given in their small groups and try to convince one another, they have engaged in peer-learning. Peer-learning is a more active form of learning and students are supposed to remember the issues better in this way. I was very impressed with his lecture and his findings, but I also wondered if this method is also useful for teaching in the Humanities, and for the teaching of History in particular. Mazur’s students are Science students and he can explain a theory to them, after which his questions deal with the application of the theory in practice. However, in my introductory course my students are expected to remember an outline of the history of Greece and Rome – a different ballgame. So my problem remained the same: how can I ask my students questions in ways that allow them to understand the materials better (instead of just replicating facts and dates).

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