As I was looking over the responses from the last survey I gave my students over their thoughts and opinions about my class (a scary concept when you consider I teach 8th grade), the most common response was that they wanted to play more math games. I immediately thought to myself, “we DO play math games”…when I can find time. This fueled me to begin a mission of finding math games that I can use in conjunction with lessons. I found a lot of resources, both paper and technology based. Then I found this gem: Kahoot! This is an absolutely wonderful and inspiring piece of technology.
The essence of Kahoot! is that it is an interactive game for students. It can be used before lessons to as a sort of pre-test, during lessons in a formative assessment manner, after lessons as a checkpoint, as a review before a test…the list goes on and on! I still have not explored all the possibilities but I am thoroughly excited about it!
As a teacher, you can choose from existing games or create your own. Then students use a device, log in with the game pin to answer the questions as the game is played on a shared screen (such as projected onto my whiteboard). Here are a few videos for you visual learners out there (like me)!
When I first discovered Kahoot!, I immediately thought of my co-teaching class. Within that class, I have a lot of students who have a hard time focusing. I believe that this will allow them to engage in a lesson or review in a fun way so as to not seem like a “chore” as some of them so kindly put in their survey responses (gotta love them). I also thought about how it could go badly. Yes, the students cannot see each other’s response (which I would greatly appreciate as a student) but I am sure that students would find a way to demean and bully their classmates. This, however, is a struggle in any classroom or lesson so I will not allow that to deter me from using this in my classroom.
In addition to the use in my co-teaching class, Kahoot! will definitely help inject a new level of fun into my regular classroom. Even though I only have 2:1 iPads, students are able to install the Kahoot! app on their phones. The great thing about this is that you can see who is responding and how many. That way, if a student is not using the technology for learning purposes (they would never do that, right?) you know.
Kahoot!, like I mentioned before, can be used for so many purposes. In the article here, the author describes five ways to use Kahoot! in “in the classroom and beyond”. These include: introducing a new concept, reinforcing knowledge, encouraging reflection and peer-led discussion, connecting global classrooms, and challenging learners to make their own Kahoots. The one that really stands out to me is encouraging reflection and peer-led discussion. I love when my students start a heated (but school appropriate and respectful) debate over who is right and why (when it comes to math). I could definitely see my students doing this with Kahoot! All I would have to do is be sure to incorporate a few tricky answers that could easily be mistaken as correct or that include common misconceptions (what teacher doesn’t do that sometimes) and have students take a whack at it. This would definitely open up my more stubborn students. As for my co-teaching class, I think this would actually help some of them to open up and discuss their opinions.
In terms of administration, if I were a principal doing a teacher evaluation and I saw this game being used and students fully engaged,I would be truly excited. I believe that every student should feel successful and not be embarrassed to participate. This app/game allows both of those things. It is everyone’s job in any aspect of education to make sure students achieve their fullest potential and Kahoot!, when used correctly, would definitely aid in that goal.
As you can probably tell, I am more than excited about the new opportunities that Kahoot! will present my students. As with any new technology, be sure to fully test and investigate the uses, implications, and possible side effects before allowing your students to dive in! Pedagogy, learning, and student safety before all else. Happy Kahooting!