KAHOOT-Students Just Love It!

by Justine Lavoie

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Kahoot is a game-based classroom response system for schools, universities and businesses.

What is Kahoot?
Kahoot is a free game-based classroom response system that:

  • asks thought provoking questions;
  • has students take control of their own learning;
  • is easy to use, inclusive and highly engaging.

How does it work?
First, one (leader) has to create a Kahoot account, and simply create a “Kahoot” under the form of a quiz, survey or poll. One leader may also use an already existing Kahoot. Then, the leader has to launch the quiz on an interactive board and invite learners to join it with the help game pin through the use of a computer or an electronic device such as an iPad or tablet. They need to enter a nickname that can have them recognized throughout the quiz. If ever the leader wants the quiz to be confidential, the option of nicknames can be set off (but, the scores will not appear after each question). Then, one may begin the Kahoot and let learners time to read the question on the board and respond to it on their own by selecting a color or shape. After the allowed time is over, learners will find out if their answer was right or wrong, and each right answer gives the learners Kahootpoints. The five best learners’ nicknames will appear on the board along with their scores to let the classroom know how the game is going. When the Kahoot is done, students receive their ranking out of the total number of students, and they are welcome to consult the questions and the answers they responded to them. Here is a short tutorial about how Kahoot works:

For an ESL teacher,
Kahoot is an awesome tool because it gets students to apply their prior knowledge and use their critical judgment to select their answer to a specific question. It can also be interesting to present a Kahoot quiz before students actually see the theory of a new subject matter, and then, present the same Kahoot again once students have seen the theory, in order to see, through the classroom’s answers, their evolution and understanding. Also, it is a great app that can be used as positive reinforcement to reward students because they love these quizzes that set a game show atmosphere in the classroom.

As an ESL teacher in the becoming,
I think that Kahoot is great. I actually have tried it in my Practicum I and students just loved the activity. We used it to review some concepts of the simple past and students did quite well. They used iPads to respond to the questions that were presented on the ActivInspire interactive board. They were allowed thirty seconds to read and answer each question, but they generally did faster than that. Kahoot is another great app that I can see myself using in my next Practicums or when I finally become a teacher. In my opinion, it creates a healthy competition and is great for elementary, secondary, CEGEP and university levels.

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The main perks of Kahoot, according to Whitney K., are that it “brings life back to quizzes, checks for understanding, and collaborative learning.” Indeed, Kahoot is a great tool to ensure students’ comprehension of classroom content, and to have students enjoy a comprehension task.

The pedagogical aspect behind Kahoot is the “learner to leader” cycle. In other words, Kahoot encourages both independence and research from the learners, as well as encouraging leaders to share their knowledge with others. The website shows a loop presenting the connection and link between the creator, teacher, leader, learner, player, researcher and then creator again.

For students,
Kahoot is fun! It is a challenge that presents, after each question, the five strongest students in the classroom along with the points they have accumulated. The classroom just changes into a whole quiz context where students are only focused on the questions and their answers. However, being a competitive game, some students may lose interest after a while of not being in the top five best students. This may even lead them to answer whatever answer that appears the faster to their eyes on the screen. But, overall, Kahoot has students learn and review without them even realizing it and by having them enjoy the activity.

For parents,
Kahoot can be used as a reviewing tool to use with children when they are studying for tests, exams or just homework. The parent can create a quiz and have his child do it. This makes the learning and revision both fun and helpful, and it can create a nice mood likely for the child to want to study or review with his parents again.

There is also a mobile application available to iOS devices and tablets. Therefore, students do not necessarily need a computer to perform the quiz, and such a thing can get their interest.

Pros & Cons:
As illustrated on the Kahoot Website, Kahoot presents a series of perks such as:

  • having the answers associated with different shapes and colors;
  • having multiple choice questions and answers;
  • having a variety of tests already made and available to anyone;
  • being free and easy to use;
  • being liked and enjoyed by students (and teachers).

However, Kahoot also presents areas in need of improvement such as:

  • it is hard to keep the class serious;
  • it gets really competitive (which can be good for some students, but terrible for others);
  • it may have students answer randomly only to be faster than others;
  • it requires students to have their eyes on the board to read the questions;
  • it does not really offer a possibility to track students’ progress;
  • because of its shapes and colors of the answers, it may confuse some students.

Reviews:
From a learning rating, Kahoot is rated a 5 out of 5 on the engagement aspect, a 3 out of 5 on the pedagogical aspect, and a 3 out of 5 on the support aspect.
From a teacher’s point of view, Kahoot is “fun way to engage students [and] it can be used as a review for formative assessment.”
Although no actual reviews from students have been published, I can say that, from my Practicum I observations, students love the app and always suggest to do a Kahoot when they have time. If used wisely, it can be seen as a reward rather than a test.

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Why don’t you just give it a try?

Although some quizzes present some typos or are too long, the main idea behind Kahoot is both nice and very pedagogical. It is a great app that I am happy to have discovered and explored and that I will surely use in a near future.

Justine Lavoie.

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