_Student response systems can play an important role to drive instruction, engage students, and provide feedback. Teachers who are lucky enough to have several iPads or iPod Touch devices in the classroom can leverage several different applications to quickly gather information before, during, or after lessons. Even if there are only a few devices, lessons can be designed to allow students to respond as a group. Here is a brief explanation of four different applications, from most complex (highest learning curve) to easiest to use.

Edmodo - This application requires teachers to sign up for an account and establish a group page. Students use a code that their teacher provides to sign up for an account and membership to the group page. Edmodo is an extremely useful tool, with dozens of features, but a s a means for instant feedback, teachers can use the polling tool to quickly gather information. Ask a question and provide a set of choices and ask students to select their preferred answer. The polling tool will not be able to provide information about which student provided which answer, but it will help identify misconceptions, gather opinions, and take a quick vote. Asking students to write a short note and direct their post to the teacher works well because the site populates the posts in real time. Ask students to be reflective and tell what they learned during the lesson. 

Google Forms - Teachers can use their district Google Docs/Drive account to create a form that can be used for a quick assessment. There are a couple of tricks to make it easy for students to submit their answers. First of all, the checkbox at the top that protects requires users to sign in first must be unchecked. If you need to track the results, use the first field(s) of the form to collect students names or ID numbers. Google Forms create a really long, complex URL that is impossible to get to without a direct link. Create a QR code from your favorite QR code generator so students can scan the code and get to the right place quickly. (TIP: First use Bitly.com to shorten the URL. Generate the QR code from the shortened URL or make sure the QR code image is really large and students get their device up close to scan the code correctly. The longer the URL, the more complex the QR code, and the more chance for error during scanning.

Socrative - This tool also requires teachers to sign up for an account. It will just take a few minutes to prepare a quick lesson. From the website (or the teachers' app), teachers develop a quiz or a poll, add a few questions, and get a code to provide the students. Students use the student Socrative app to access a particular quiz or poll from a number that is assigned. After they submit the answers, teachers can access the results. This tool provides all the features a sophisticated student response system for FREE, including the ability to track student progress and download the results on to their computer.

Mentimeter - This tool is fairly new and it would be an excellent way to gather the status of the class quickly. The user does not need an account to create a poll. Type a quick question for student feedback. At the very bottom, right corner - look for the tiny little QR code generator button. Out pops the QR code, making gathering feedback from the group amazingly fast. If the student devices do not have cameras, texting the answers works well too.