I find myself raving more and more about Kahoot to my colleagues these days, so I thought I would take a moment to help spread the word about this incredible online educational app.
Kahoot is essentially an online, interactive game that can be created and launched by anyone who signs up for a free account at Create.Kahoot.it.
These games proceed by broadcasting a sign-up screen, which invites participants (i.e. students) to join the game by browsing to www.kahoot.it, and then entering a unique PIN number (which is generated each time a Kahoot is launched). The game begins when the game host (i.e. the teacher) decides to start the game. The host and the players can see the names of everyone who has signed up for the game, although participants have the freedom of entering any name they might wish. (I should add that the game host can kick out any participant who decides to enter using some sort of naughty or offensive name.)
Games are essentially comprised of multiple choice questions featuring a question and four associated answer options. One or more answer options can be designated as correct by the game designer. Each game can feature an identifying image or video, and each question therein can also feature its own unique image or video.
Once the game is launched, students have a brief moment to read each question before the answer options are displayed. Once the answers are displayed, the players have a certain amount of time (designated by the game designer) to select the correct option. Answer options are coded by both colour and shape. Students thus click on the colour and shape associated with the answer they believe to be correct. All students ever see on their own device screens are the four colours and shapes.
Each question finishes once the time designated for the question expires, or when all players have answered the question - whichever comes first. At that time, a bar graph displaying the number of players who chose each answer is presented. In addition, this graph indicates which of the four answers was correct. After that, a scoreboard showing the top five scores and their associated player usernames is displayed. The game then proceeds with the next question, and it carries on in that order until all questions have been answered. I should point out that there is a set of options that are selected at the outset of each game, and these include the option to randomize the questions.
So then, why am I loving Kahoot so much right now? Well, let me tell you...
1. With Kahoot's newly refined interface, these little games are lightning fast to build and launch. (After all, if a given tool, technology, or approach isn't firmly grounded within the reality of a teacher's tight time constraints, then it simply won't be used.) Kahoot's new game creator interface is slick, intuitive, and highly responsive. In fact, I would hazard a guess that I could build a brand new, ten-question Kahoot on almost any topic in about 15 minutes. Moreover, entire Kahoot games, as well as individual Kahoot questions, are very easy to duplicate and then modify. (Indeed, duplication and modification of questions is a key feature that makes Kahoots so fast to build.)
2. Kids love playing Kahoot! My students beg to play Kahoot every class. The game is fun, fast-paced, and is designed to engage each and every student in real time. ALL students (not just the high achievers) compete in a safe, anonymous environment. Only the top five scorers are revealed after each question. (Low scorers don't need to worry about being embarrassed.)
3. Kahoots are an excellent tool for formative assessment. The students and the teacher immediately learn whether the class is mastering or struggling with certain material. Moreover, the teacher can actually download and save comprehensive results for the entire class after each game. (See detailed directions on how to download full class results from a Kahoot.) I have even integrated Kahoot results within my formative feedback and my parent communication. (See: Early Warning Radar.)
4. Finally, I just discovered (through pure experimentation) that the Logitech presenter that I use to remotely operate my PowerPoints and Google Slide presentations will also work with Kahoot! This means that teachers are no longer tethered to their computers while hosting a Kahoot, and are thus free to walk around amongst their students during the game.
Tip: Use this feature to keep a vigilant watch on your students as they are playing Kahoot. Students are quick to discover that they can sign in using fake names, and even sign in as other students in the classroom. Ask your students to have only one tab open while playing Kahoot. (Otherwise a single student can log in and play as several other students in the class. The imposter student simply needs to open a new tab for each student he is posing as.)
If you're teaching in a one-to-one environment, I hope you'll give Kahoot a try the next time you're looking for a fun, interactive experience that will reinforce learning, provide instant remediation, and generate excellent formative assessment data that can guide next steps for both teachers and students.
The New Learner Lab
Exploring the ever-changing, often challenging, and always controversial world of teaching.