Thursday, 20 September 2012

Sporcle

Sporcle homepage.
My brother introduced me to this site close to two years ago, I believe. It is a collection of user made quizzes, games and trivia challenges. I have spent many free hours testing my knowledge. A few of my favourite quizzes are: The Countries of the World, The Periodic Table, and Movie Posters.
There are a wide range of categories and the days' most popular quizzes are posted on the homepage. Quizzes posted on the homepage are verified by Sporcle to be accurate.

I have mostly used sporcle as a mentally stimulating diversion, as the catch phrase says. However, being back in University has got me thinking of using sporcle in new ways, educational ways. Verified quizzes can serve as great review tools. They can also serve as an interesting way to see student's prior knowledge. If you have enough computers students can do the quizzes individually and share results or it can be a class group activity with a designated typist or clicker, there are two types of quizzes. (Parenthetically, I've recently been demoted from quiz typist when I play with my wife. I'm an inaccurate typist under pressure.) Clickable quizzes could be very Smartboard friendly, I think.

I started along this train of thought because I made my first quiz last week. I signed up, agreed to the conditions and am now a quiz master! An assignment in the math class I'm in is to make a mental math game or activity. I was immediately drawn to sporcle. My quiz is Radians to Degrees and is intended to be used as review in pre-calculus. Making your own quizzes allows you to tailor them specifically to your students' learning.

Another, and again math related, way to use sporcle is that data is kept on every quiz, every time it is taken. This allows a quiz to be used as an investigation of statistics. The percentage each answer is guessed correctly is tallied for every quiz, as well as final score. You can see if a quiz has a normal distribution or is skewed in a certain direction. You can see which answers are the most common and the least common.
It can be a great way to move into discussion about what the statistics actually mean. The stats I've shown on the left are from the 1 to 100 in Hexadecimal quiz. It has a very even distribution, except that most people only get about 60% through the quiz. What does this actually say about the quiz? Do most people who choose to do a hexadecimal quiz only know 60% of the numbers? Or since there is a 1 minute time limit to the quiz, does it really speak more about typing speed?

I think it can be a valuable resource in the classroom. What other ways can we use it?


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