10 ways to electrify class with Kahoot!

10 ways to electrify class with Kahoot!

Kahoot! is a game show right in your classroom that highlights your content. This versatile tool can be used several ways in class and in school. (Sketch by Matt Miller)

My students have begged for it almost every day.

I’ve used it to entertain family and my children (8, 6 and 5 years old) love to play it.

It’s educational and engaging. Oh, and it’s FREE.

It’s Kahoot! (getkahoot.com), and if you haven’t heard of it, it could be your new favorite digital tool of the year. (It certainly is for me!)

Kahoot! turns your classroom into a game show. There are questions (pre-written by you, the teacher, of course). There are devices for all people participating to use to answer (any Internet-ready device … they use kahoot.it as the web address to answer questions).

And, of course, there’s a leaderboard. If your students are like mine, they’ll plead to play Kahoot! all the time because they want to be on that leaderboard.

Setting up a Kahoot! is so easy, too. I can write questions and answers for a 10-question Kahoot! in about five minutes. There are quizzes (ask questions to play the game), quick polls (a single question to gather info and spark discussion) and surveys (to collect feedback).

A device for every student (or at least one each for small groups of students) is necessary to make Kahoot! work. But 37 percent of teens had a smart phone in 2013 according to Pew Research (and that number surely has grown in 2014), so getting some devices in the class is hopefully doable — even with younger ones.

So, how can Kahoot! be integrated into the classroom and various places in the school? There are some obvious answers and some not-so-obvious answers.

Here are 10 ideas to get you Kahooting in no time.

1. Drill vocabulary — If meaningful repetitions of vocabulary terms help students to remember them, this will do it. A quick game of Kahoot! with your current vocabulary list won’t take much time and will get them engaged right away.

2. Reading comprehension — After reading a story, article or (gasp!) chapter in a textbook, Kahoot! can help you assess how much students remembered.

3. Current events — Because a Kahoot! can be created so simply, you can give students questions on the most current of topics. If part of your class is following news, a quick Kahoot! can check how up to date they are.

4. Identify images — Artwork. Diagrams. Photos of terms. A picture can bring a concept to life, and they can be uploaded (YouTube videos, too) to Kahoot! questions. Use them to ask a question instead of words to better illustrate your content.

5. Club announcements and news — Kahoot! can bring club meetings to life. Go over the important points of the meeting with students and, at the end of the meeting, see who was paying attention with a Kahoot!.

6. Sports team rules — As a former golf coach, I was charged with teaching athletes the rules of the game. If I only had Kahoot! back then! Instead of just saying “remember these,” it would give each player more incentive to learn them.

7. Staff meeting opener — It didn’t happen, but I had big plans to create a Kahoot! on my school’s teacher workday before school started. It would have questions about interesting things that happened to staff members over the summer or lesser-known facts about them. I’ll make it happen next year, though!

8. Find already-created public Kahoots — Kahoot! can give you something useful to do if you find yourself with several extra minutes to fill at the end of class. Search public Kahoots for your content area, preview questions of the ones you find by clicking on the title, and send them out to the class — all in a minute or so!

9. Turn learners to leaders — Kahoot! promotes this great use of its site: using questioning as an assessment tool. Instead of teachers creating Kahoots, students can create them. Their ability to write good questions and create answers (even the wrong ones!) shows a lot about how well they understand content. More at this blog post.

10. Relive memories with family — OK, this one isn’t a class- or school-based idea, but I’m going to use it! I’ve entertained my family with publicly available Kahoots (not all of them are strictly academic). Some of my students have said they want to have a Kahoot! party with their friends! Hmm … educational technology so engaging that students want to base a party around it … something is right here!

For more about Kahoot!, check out their user guide or their blog with lots of posts full of ideas for implementation.

Any other ideas for utilizing Kahoot!? Share them in a comment, or tell us which idea most appeals to you!

(For notifications of new Ditch That Textbook content and helpful links, “like” Ditch That Textbook on Facebook and follow @jmattmiller on Twitter!)

Interested in having Matt present at your event or school? Contact him by e-mail!