Ok remember when I said that “if you were a traditional teacher, then Kahoot! was for you”? Well… it was intended to provide a bit of a ‘shake up’…a difference between the older model of learning check in that is Socrative, and the more progressive style of Kahoot!
Kahoot is not intended to be something that is completed individually in a
desk. Students should not use this tool with an expectation of silence or, to be honest, even quiet. This is an important distinction from Socrative and really allows the traditional teacher a foray, if you will into the gamification of learning (discussed in a previous post).
Kahoot! in my classroom was presented as a group activity. Student faced off (yes faced off) in small groups. Groups are a great first option as they prevent individuals from ranking or scoring below their peers. While there is the option to turn off the score or leveling feature, it defeats some of the strengths of Kahoot!. All the same it is important when using any new tool to develop comfort and familiarity. Well designed groups allow for a variety of: personalities, tech abilities, and knowledge bases. Once students see the ins and outs of the process, they are more likely to have the processing speed required to interact with the content.
The 8’s used school iPads as the medium for interacting with Kahoot!.
Traditionally, the 5-8 students use laptops as their ‘tech tool’, and the iPads are reserved for the students in grades K – 4 . This was important as the iPads have protective cases are are easily passed while the activity was taking place. Believe me those cases are important when the learning gets…active? Additionally the iPads are simply a more user friendly interface for students. I think in part this is because they use phones so regualrly that the ‘touchability’ of an iPad or tablet experientially makes it a better option.
Using Kahoot: Scoring and Screaming!
The experience of using Kahoot! in the classroom definitely livens up the environment. Students, while never having used it before, immediately were aware of the process of play. Due to the fact that students are most active, outside of the school, in play, they immediately connect to the game like play that makes up Kahoot! The theory that this, structural gamification, will enhance learning is supported by Karl Kapp. Kapp identifies what gamification is in the YouTube video: What is Gamification: A Few Ideas.
The scoring component in Kahoot! ads a very interesting dimension to the process of reviewing, or checking for understanding. Using colours, and shapes to help student select their response reminded me of the old Simon Says game. Really students are doing a multiple choice question, however instead of choosing A, B, or C, they are choosing red triangle. Subtle difference, big perceptual change from the perspective of the student. Finally students are scored…publicly. However, for some reason the fear of being wrong seems to be less present as it is just a game. Ensuring that students or student groups are anonymous contributes to this, however, even when names are attached there is a greater willingness to ‘participate’ in the game. There are some that express taht the pressure of a game based activity is more than they can handle. This pressure is one of the reasons that Kahoot!, as with other applications is definitly not the best way to administer assessments that are summative, as will be discussed in the section on Apps and Assessment.
So lets get back to that opening line: ‘if you are a traditional teacher then Kahoot! is definitely for you’. Kahoot offers an excellent opportunity to see the value and energy that tech based applications can offer. I would suggest that any evaluation NOT be based in the even, as it is independent and as such variable, but rather the reaction that it illicits from students. This is where the true value of Kahoot! lies: engagement.