Sometimes technology bombs. It did yesterday.

I thought I’d be clever doing our ACT prep yesterday. Instead of the old paper-pencil version, I thought I’d integrate it with Socrative. That would let me see immediately which question students were having problems with, and they’d know immediately whether they answered correctly or incorrectly. Plus, no more having to wait for everyone to complete to go over the answers and tallying the results.

Students still had the paper copy to see the passage, so I thought it would work great.  And it did–for the reading test.

But when it came to the English portion–my students gave a resounding thumbs-down.  Many said they missed ones they normally wouldn’t have. Overall, they flat-out didn’t like it.

My theory: I think it could work online if the interface was different.  Unlike the reading test, where all the questions come at the end of the passage, the English test delivers questions aligned with the passage.

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Many of these questions ask students to analyze grammar, and I think it’s easier for students to compare possibilities when it’s side by side. Adding the extra step of then answering on the computer may have been a step too much.

Now we’re back to the old pencil/paper method, and then tallying class averages by hand (because we track how we improve as a class.)

Sometimes technology bombs. It did yesterday. So I shrugged it off and went back to the old way, though a little more knowledgeable now about the powerful effects the interface can have on students.