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Socrative Gets $750K From True Ventures, NewSchools To Bring Realtime Student Response System To K-12 Education

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TechCrunch has learned today that Socrative, an intelligent student response system aimed for K-12 classrooms, has quietly raised $750K in seed financing from True Ventures, NewSchools Ventures and a handful of angel investors in Boston — where the startup is headquartered — including Jean Hammond and Eileen Rudden. According to our sources, the startup closed the majority of its round in April, but has added a few investors since then and has mostly remained mum in regard to its financing and investors.

The initial prototype for Socrative was developed in 2010 by Amit Maimon at MIT, who then brought on co-founders Benjamin Berte and Michael West after graduating. The co-founders bootstrapped for two years before joining Imagine K-12’s incubator and picking up a bit of seed funding as a result. The startup has grown steadily since. Berte tells us that, over the 2012-2013 school year, Socrative saw 116 million questions answered and 278K quizzes created and shared across 3.2 million individual teacher and student users. Towards the end of the school year, Berte says, the platform was adding new teachers at a rate of 1,000/day.

For those unfamiliar, Socrative is a free, cloud-based student response system, which is available via the Web or mobile apps for iOS and Android that allows teachers to create and distribute quizzes and conduct polls in class. Students can then respond via their laptops, tablets or smartphones, allowing teachers to get a more “realtime” understanding of student comprehension and to aggregate and store that data to track student learning curves.

The idea is to allow schools to upgrade their old hardware, or their “clickers” (and clicker systems) that one might use in a large introductory class, for example, replacing them with a more digital system. Socrative and its clicker platform 2.0 allow teachers to create and distribute a number of types of quizzes, including true/false, multiple choice, graded short answer or short response, whether they be teacher-paced or student-paced.

To put it simply, Socrative is doing for K-12 what Top Hat does for higher education. (It also follows Pearson’s acquisition of student response startup, Learning Catalytics, in April.) Like Top Hat, the system allows teachers to add gamification elements to quizzes so that students can compete against each other, view leaderboards, or display live results to get class discussions started. All in all, it’s a way to update the formal assessment standards that still exist at most schools today.

Going forward, Socrative plans to launch a design overhaul in early August, with multi-selection multiple choice questions, Common Core assessment tagging, back channel-style discussions and student quiz navigation being a few of the enhancements one can expect. Berte also tells us that Socrative is in the process of integrating with Google Apps for Education so users can access Socrative via Google Sign-on and export assessment reports and so on to Google Drive.

For more, find Socrative at home here.

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