Retrieved from: https://sites.google.com/site/technicallymiddle/kahoot
This week we were asked to conduct a theoretical conversation between two parties regarding technology use in the classroom. My partner Katelyn and I created a (completely fictional and intentionally humorous) conversation around the use of Kahoot as a learning tool in the classroom. The conversation was instigated by a seasoned, old fashion teacher named Mrs. Crumplebottom who is questioning the effectiveness of Kahoot. Ms. Kipps is a newer teacher who is enthusiastic about integrating technology into her classroom to up engagement.
Mrs. Crumplebottom: I think we need to have a conversation about what is going on in your classroom. Now I know that you have only been teaching for a few years and you still have some of that bright-eyed optimism but honestly, I don’t think the students in your room are taking their learning seriously. They come into my room every day talking about some gibberish sounding game you let them play. Smaboot…. Flabroot… What’s it called?
Ms. Kipps: I think you are perhaps meaning Kahoot? I’d be happy to help if you have questions about it!
Mrs. Crumplebottom: Yes! That one! I truly wonder what they are teaching you youngsters at that university. Back in my day students took their learning seriously with good old sobering exams to show what they had learned.
Ms. Kipps: While I appreciate your experience, something to consider is that the students are really enjoying this type of learning! It’s less stressful and more like a game to them! It makes for a very exciting class!
Mrs. Crumplebottom: And how exactly does playing childish games help them to learn?
Ms. Kipps: I think one of the greatest benefits is that they are engaged! While it appears to be a game, it’s sneakily forcing them to think back to what they know and have learned in the class! And if by chance they get it wrong, it provides them with some immediate feedback to correct the misinformation.
Mrs. Crumplebottom: But they keep coming into my room talking about points and code names. How does that relate to learning?
Ms. Kipps: Well, the points are sort of like an incentive for the students. It gives them something to strive for in the platform and increases the buy-in for it. No different than the points given on a test, really! And the code names are generally just for fun but also allow for some anonymity for the students who worry about being embarrassed for getting answers wrong. If you want to know more about the research behind using games in the classroom to facilitate learning you could read this article. I know how much you love to read.
Mrs. Crumplebottom: Interesting! So what would you use it for? You wouldn’t use this to teach a new topic right?
Ms. Kipps: Definitely not to teach something brand new. It’s more of a simple review tool! I am able to take the information that we have learned already, whether that be from the class that day, the day before, or over the course of a unit, turn it into engaging questions, and then have the students review it in real time so that I can see how much they have retained and maybe where I need to go back over with some additional teaching! Super helpful!
Mrs. Crumplebottom: So are these Kafloots pre-made or do you get to tailor them completely to what you have been teaching?
Ms. Kipps: While there are some stock games just for fun, I can actually create my own Kahoots with specifically tailored questions about whatever it is we are working on! That way there are no surprises for students (unless I want there to be, of course). If you want to check it out, here is a little explanatory video:
Mrs. Crumplebottom: Hhhmmm. I see. So what if a student comes to class and for whatever reason, they don’t have access to a mobile phone or other devices?
Ms. Kipps: Well, one option is to de-techify it and have them respond on paper first, like a quiz. However, another option that I recommend would be to use the team option! That way not everyone needs a device and it encourages students to collaborate with one another rather than compete.
Mrs. Crumplebottom: That is a lovely feature. When I watched the video from the Youtubes it appeared that there are time limits on how quickly the students need to answer. Doesn’t that reduce the learning to just focusing on speed? And what if a student gets anxious in timed settings, doesn’t that agitate them?
Ms. Kipps: It is true that sometimes it can feel like a pressured situation for some students. I think that is why it is better used as a formative assessment tool rather than anything summative. Part of reducing the anxiety that students may feel comes from the environment that is created in the situation. If students are aware that it is low stakes and we emphasize the game aspect of the tool, then it becomes easier for them to find a level of comfort in engaging with the technology. This is also where the team aspect is useful because we can use a more gradual release into the individual engagement.
Mrs. Crumplebottom: So what would you do if there was a student in your room that had a visual impairment. They have to be able to see the board as well as their own device in order to respond effectively don’t they?
Ms. Kipps: For more advanced exceptionalities such as visual impairments and perhaps even reading difficulties, there is always the option of reading the prompt out loud. I would agree that this is perhaps not the best platform for all students, but you do your best to include and involve everyone. For those who have less severe visual impairments, I like to plan ahead and make sure that they are situated in a place that gives them the best opportunity to be able to see the board.
Mrs. Crumplebottom: I can see that I may have been a bit hasty in my judgement of this tool. The students do truly seem to be enjoying and learning in your classes in a way that they don’t seem to be in mine. I still have a few questions about it but would you be willing to show me how to set it up sometime next week? Or could I at least come in and observe one day when the kids are using it?
Ms. Kipps: Absolutely! Next week the students are actually going to try their hand at creating their own Kahoots to quiz each other before their unit test. You are more than welcome to come in and check it out. While I do agree with you that it has a few limitations, all around it is a very simple and engaging way to integrate technology into any classroom and the students for the most part really enjoy getting to play instead of “learn”!