I was reading through Ms Chadd’s post on revision ideas and it inspired me to write about my favourite new teaching and assessment tool – Kahoot. Having been introduced to Kahoot a few months ago, I have frequently returned to it as both a fun, interactive time filler and a pre and post-assessment tool.
If you have not had the pleasure of using Kahoot, then it’s basic premise is that you can quickly create quizzes that the children answer using an iPad or phone (I’ve also used it successfully with an Android phone and tablet). You run the quiz from your own device (for the best reliability I tend to run my quizzes from my classroom PC), and the kids join by entering a PIN. Because the quiz is live, the children compete against each other and points are awarded for correct answers, as well as the speed of the answers. A league table is displayed after each question, which despite my best attempts, leads to cheers and wild celebrations.
Despite the fun, there are some seriously good assessment possibilities taking place. You can immediately see gaps in knowledge and address them, but for me the best part of Kahoot is that you can download the data after the quiz. You can see a profile for each child showing which questions were answered correctly or incorrectly (and if my memory serves me correctly, you can also see the time taken to answer the question). It is now my ‘go to’ tool to assess my children’s knowledge at the beginning of a new topic. This helps inform planning and where, and to who, to focus my teaching. With the quiz being stored on the Kahoot website, I can easily use the same quiz again at the end of the topic. This gives me a much more engaging way of assessing progress over a topic, with tangible data to refer to. The children love it and it is used infrequently enough that they see it as a treat.
The possibilities for Kahoot are endless. They have recently added a ‘team mode’ – to encourage discussion and collaboration – but would also work perfectly where access to a class set of iPads is just a dream. I have also spotted an ‘export to Google Drive’ option for the quiz data – a welcome addition (if not hugely useful here in China). I am excited to see where they can take the platform next.
If you are in a school that doesn’t yet have access to tablets, then you don’t need to miss out on the fun. An offline alternative to Kahoot exists in the form of Plickers. It works in much the same way as Kahoot, but children have pre-assigned QR codes to hold up to answer the questions. I have used it a few times, with varying degrees of success. Lighting levels and user inexperience have made it a bit more of a hassle to use than Kahoot, but I will stick with it for those times when I don’t have access to the iPads. Unless you have used Plickers, or at least had an explore on their website my big piece of advice for it won’t make much sense, but here it is anyway: do not laminate the QR code answer cards! That was time wasted that I will not get back!
Despite being a self-confessed geek and lover of technology I am sceptical of the value many apps bring to the classroom, however Kahoot is the one standout app that I keep going back to – with the data collecting and assessment possibilities my favourite aspect. As and when I come across new and exciting apps, which make a long term difference in the classroom, I will let you know.
Feel free to recommend any apps in the comments that you think would be worth me checking out.