Kahoot! is a free and ad-free quiz website similar to Jeopardy made with teachers in mind. Calling itself a game based application, it works like this: once you’ve created an account, you can either create a new Kahoot! or search for and use or modify one shared by others. You create the questions and the four multiple choice answers, adding in images if you so desire. Your Kahoots! are stored in your dashboard and can be edited and used as needed. I have created three and made them all private, which means other Kahoot! users cannot view, use, or modify what I’ve created.
To use with students, you click on Play and then Launch, which shows a unique game pint students type in to enter the game.
To enter the game, students need this pin and either an android/iphone, ipad, or computer with internet access. Working as either a team or individually (you decide), students navigate to kahoot.it, type in the pin, a name (team, nickname, name, you decide), and wait for you to start the game. As students sign in, their names are displayed on the main screen. When you’re ready, you start the game. A question appears and students are given a predetermined amount of time to read and select the answer they believe is correct (you decide how much time students get for each question). Once either the time runs out or everyone has selected an answer, a gong sound goes off and the correct answer is shown. Students (or teams) earn points for both correct answers and speed. Each student’s screen shows them whether or not their selected answer was correct and their ranking within in the group.
At the end of the game, the top five scorers are highlighted and students have the opportunity to rate the game (you can skip this part if you so desire).
I’ve played Kahoot! with grades K-5 at both Meadow Ridge and Evergreen.
The positive: Kahoot! is a highly motivating game--all grades seemed to enjoy playing and most asked if they could play it again or when they’d get a chance to play again. A couple upper grade students asked if they could create their own accounts and play with friends (I believe they can with parent approval). Optional Jeopardy style music adds to the game atmosphere, and the questions and settings were easy to maneuver. It’s ad-free and as a Kahoot! newbee I appreciated being able to view, copy, and modify other teacher’s quizzes. Finally, although it’s a bit confusing to students at first, once they understand how to play the game goes smoothly for all grades. I had kindergarteners pair up and play as teams; with grade 1, I varied letting them play with partners or by themselves and both went well. Grades 2-5 played as individuals.
The drawbacks: the game is confusing at first, and it’s easier to have students enter their pin and nickname and begin playing rather than trying to explain the entire game beforehand. I suggest creating a practice, no points question at the beginning of each quiz to alleviate stress and confusion. A few things to remember:
Students need more time than you think for each question. When setting up your first Kahoot! quiz, give students more time than you think reasonable to answer each question--you can always go back and change these times later.
Consider reading questions and answers out loud. This helps equalize the playfield. I read everything--questions and all four multiple choice answers to all grades. No one complained or asked me to stop.
Student screens do not show the multiple choice answers--only the colors (each multiple choice question is color coded and has a symbol on it. Thus, make sure all students are facing your teacher projector screen. There is no option to change this. Kahoot! does not as of yet have a feature that reads each questions to students. This is a downside I would advocate they change (note: in addition to colors, each choice has a shape, which is important if you have students who are color blind).
Kahoot’s format is only multiple choice. This may, at times, be a drawback.
Students’ screens automatically shown their ranking after each question. This can be distracting, especially with older students. I wish this was optional, but it is not.
At the end of each quiz, you have the choice to let students evaluate the game. I’ve discovered that students who do not win often rate it quite low. Student ratings are automatically shown to the entire class. However, you do not have to continue this part of the quiz.
Finally, the term “nickname” is not optional--students are always asked to create a nickname when signing in rather than signing is with a first and or last name. This can be confusing and distracting. Decide ahead of time what you’ll require students to enter. I told students that there would be a prize for the highest scorer, but if they did not play using their real first and last name, I would not award them a prize. If students play in teams, plan ahead what type of team name you want them to use.
If you have questions about Kahoot! and/or would like to learn more about how to use it in your classroom, ask your LITS.
Written by Rachel Peters, LITS, Meadow Ridge and Evergreen Elementary Schools