Monday, September 14, 2015

Kahoot It!

Today I gave a pre-test of literary elements terms using Kahoot. My goal was simply to measure what my students already know about terms like theme, plot, setting, characters, crisis, and so on as they relate to literature. In the end, I learned a lot about motivating my students and how powerful a game can really be. Read on for more information about Kahoot.

Making the Quiz

The quiz was extremely easy to make on Kahoot. I had participated in a quiz at the beginning of the year and signed up for a free account then. After I signed in, I was just a few clicks away from making my quiz.

My user page on Kahoot.
After clicking the ? button to make a new quiz, I gave my quiz a title and started writing questions. The quiz editor is very user-friendly. Type the question, type your answers, choose which answer is correct, and then add another. Kahoot gives you the option to upload an image with each question. If you do not upload an image, the Kahoot logo will appear on the question and and animation will play during the quiz. Another option is time. Kahoot wants to know how long to display the answer choices. I chose 30 seconds for each question. Once I went through the quiz with my first set of students, I realized 20 seconds would have been long enough, but I'm sure results will vary with each set of kids.
Quiz editor in Kahoot

Playing the Quiz

Once you make your quiz, you save it and then play it for your class. Kahoot will load a screen with instructions for your students to join. The students can use a smartphone, tablet, or laptop to access the site and they just need the code that gets displayed. Once they are in, they give themselves a nickname. I required my students to use at least part of their actual name so I could give them a grade for the quiz. Once all the students join, go ahead and start the quiz.

During the quiz, students will see the question for a moment, and then be shown a screen with 4 different colors, each representing an answer choice. The actual answers are displayed on the teacher's computer. Clearly, you'll need a projector or external monitor of some type to display the questions and answer choices. Once all the students have answered the question, the correct answer is revealed and students earn points for correct answers. The faster the answer, the more points as well.

Gamification

I've been online enough and read enough articles to know that gamification is kind of a big deal in education right now. And boy does it work. As I said on Twitter about the Kahoot experience, it's the most excited I've seen anyone about literary elements terms.
My tweet about Kahoot
My students had so much fun competing to win and they didn't even know whether there was a prize for winning (there was). I guarantee you my students would have been distracted, talkative, and very bored if the same questions were on a piece of paper in front of them. The time limits, points, leaderboard, and prize were all something to go for. Yes, they were also getting a grade, but that wasn't the motivating factor. It was really nice to do something in class that wasn't just for a grade.

I fully recommend using Kahoot in your class. I used it today as a pre-test and I intend on using it a lot more in my classes. It is very easy to use, free, and fun. All of those things are winners in my book.

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