Thursday, February 25, 2016

Teaching Tools Series: Kahoot! in the STEM classroom--FREE

Wow.  That gif is...gify.

Now that I have your attention, if you haven't used Kahoot! in your classroom yet, you're in for a real treat. Kahoot! is full of user-created ready-made interactive quiz games that make Jeopardy buzzer systems completely and utterly irrelevant. Sorry, Alex Trebec.  Here's the Kahoot! game that I used in my class today--try it out for FREE on the Kahoot! community board:

If you like it, you can join Kahoot! (also free) and start playing right away.  For how much? You guessed it: it's free.  Student accounts--also free.

Students can use whichever device they have handy--but in my experience, the kids favor touchscreens because of the reaction-time advantage. You don't even need a projector, really, depending on your class size. I have used my HD laptop in a pinch. Today, this is what my 8th grade class looked like playing Kahoot!--we were waiting for a guest speaker to arrive and it was an engaging and fun activity as well as a good way to review material.

This is TWO class sections of eighth graders happy and busy
while they wait for our guest speaker to arrive!  Yes!  It really happens!
How it works: you choose a Kahoot! quiz to use and then Launch it to your device/projector.  The students login using the URL and the login code to access your quiz in real time.  They add their username (they do NOT need accounts--this is the best part). Once everyone joins the quiz, the quiz will launch!

Some fun music plays in the background while a question pops up on the big screen and on their devices. They have to wait a few moments until the multiple-choice answers pop up on the screen, and then they get access to punch in their response on their device.

One of the coolest parts of this is that it's really interactive in the whole-class sense.  They aren't staring at the board or their device.  They all have to constantly look up at the board and then down at their devices and then back at the board to see if they were right.  The leaderboard is posted after every question--extra points for speed!  It's not unusual for students to jump out of their seats with excitement as they see where they are in the lineup.

Kahoot! Markets itself as tool that can be flipped to let the kids create.

I teach a couple of PLTW courses and this Kahoot! is specifically for Automation and Robotics, Lesson 2.2.2 Mechanisms. Give it a try alone or with a few friends to see what Kahoot! is all about.

You can create your own Kahoot!, customizing it for your particular classroom and lesson. You can easily embed photos and youtube videos that enhance your quizzes.  What's fantastic, though, is there are thousands of user-created quizzes that are just waiting for your tweaks to make them perfect or you can use them as-is.

**FYI, I am not a paid spokesperson for Kahoot! nor do they sponsor me in any way.  I just really like this tool.

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