Game show classroom: Comparing Kahoot!, Quizizz, Quizlet Live and Quizalize

The best features of game shows can be used to review and teach in the classroom. These four digital tools can help. See their pros, cons and what makes them different. (Image by Kevin Standlee / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0)

The best features of game shows can be used to review and teach in the classroom. These four digital tools can help. See their pros, cons and what makes them different. (Original image by Kevin Standlee / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0)

As a child, I remember one specific thing I always looked forward to on days when I stayed home sick from school.

The Price Is Right.

I may have been aching, sick to my stomach or feverish, but as I laid on the couch, I made sure the TV was tuned to that game show around lunch time.

I loved the unique games. (I always dreamed of playing Plinko!) I always guessed right along with the contestants during the Showcase Showdown at the end of the game. Bob Barker was the consummate host and kept things moving.

Now, teachers can bring that experience into the classroom when students aren’t home sick.

Several digital tools created for the classroom bring those exciting experiences to students with learning as the focus.

Here are some of the ones I’ve found that I think are the best, along with pros, cons and what makes them different:

Kahoot! (getkahoot.com)

Kahoot! is the granddaddy of the game show review games. That’s a funny title for a site that was only launched in August of 2013 … a three-year-old (as of publication of this post) hardly counts as a granddaddy! That goes to show how fast technology is changing in classrooms.

Source: Screenshot from getkahoot.com

Source: Screenshot from getkahoot.com

Pros: It’s a shared experience. Everyone sees the question on the projector at the same time and everyone answers at the same time. That by itself creates an electric environment. Also, there are millions (no exaggeration) of pre-created Kahoot! games under “Public Kahoot!s”. If you want to teach it, there’s likely a Kahoot! game already created by a teacher, student or someone else that you can use. Kahoot! also features a team mode for classes that don’t have devices for each student (or want a more group-based option).

Cons: Your score is based on your reaction time from seeing the question (often displayed on the projector screen) and answering on your device. If the device you’re answering on takes too long to load, you may know the answer but can’t answer it (often because of slow or overloaded Internet) and you’re left in the dust. Some teachers say they don’t like that you can’t see the answers on the device you use to answer (i.e. student laptop or tablet), but my students never complained about that.

What makes it different: Ghost mode. It makes the same game different the second time you play it. (Or third. Or fourth.) Kahoot! remembers how each student scored on each question, and when you play ghost mode, it displays former attempts as “ghosts”. Students can compare their current attempt to previous attempts to see how they’ve progressed. (If your students have played Mario Kart or another racing video game and have raced against their personal best, they’re familiar with racing against a ghost.)

Quizizz (quizizz.com)

Quizizz takes the excitement of a gameshow-style review game and puts the whole experience in the students’ hands. With Kahoot!, everyone sees the question and possible answers on the projector and answer simultaneously. Quizizz is different because the questions and possible answers are displayed individually on student devices.

Pros: Student-paced. No one gets upset because their device didn’t load the game fast enough to compete. Quizizz games can also be assigned as homework, extending its fun experience to out-of-class work. Teachers can display their screen on the projector to see progress of each student and instantly see how many questions the class answered right/wrong.

quizizz meme

Source: Screenshot from Quizizz.com

Cons: Quizizz is definitely fun. But when everyone is answering different questions at different times, you lose a bit of the excitement. With Kahoot!, when my class answers one question all together, it isolates that piece of content so we can all talk about it. When a Quizizz game is over, you can review all the questions all at once, and you lose that isolation.

What makes it different: Memes. These pictures with fun/funny messages are a treat. They’re displayed after a question is answered to show whether it’s right or wrong. Quizizz even lets you create your own (see image at right). You can use their pre-loaded images or upload your own.

Quizlet Live (quizlet.com/live)

Quizlet’s foray into the game show-style review adds its own unique spin. Instead of students answering individual questions on their individual devices, Quizlet puts students in groups. All possible answers are divided amongst the devices of all students participating. Think of three students with 12 possible answers … they’re divided up with four on each devices, so the answer may or may not be on your device.

quizlet live

Source: Screenshot from Quizlet.com

Pros: Teamwork and communication. With traditional flashcards, students may study them in isolation quietly. This brings students together in a game where they must depend on each other. If you use Quizlet and already have flashcards, you don’t have to create anything new. The questions and possible answers are all pulled from your existing Quizlet study sets. That means that each new Quizlet Live game is different, with different possible questions and answers pulled from your existing sets.

Cons: You need at least six students to play a game (at least two teams of three students). If you’re looking for something more individual to play as a group, Quizlet Live may not be your game.

What makes it different: True team play. It’s a different model of review game when many of these game show-style games feel the same.

Quizalize (quizalize.com)

The gameplay experience in Quizalize isn’t what makes it stand out. Like the others, you can create questions and answers and deliver them to your class. Like the others, there are existing games you can search and use. (Quizalize uses a marketplace model where you can offer your Quizalize games to others for a fee a la Teachers Pay Teachers.) Quizalize stands out with the data that it offers on how students are doing.

quizalize data

Source: Screenshot from Quizalize.com

Pros: The interface is simple. Students get how to play it quickly and easily, and teachers can jump right in, too. The team game lets students work together and see their results in real time on the projector screen. When students are finished, Quizalize breaks the data on their work down in many ways (by question, by type of question, etc.) to provide great insights for the teacher.

Cons: It lacks some of the flash and fun of the other platforms. Quizalize hasn’t been around as long, so the database of pre-built Quizalize games won’t be as deep and robust. The option to offer your Quizalize games for a fee to others isn’t ideal to cash-strapped teachers.

What makes it different: Data on student performance. Quizalize really excels here. You can create tags for questions (i.e. subtopics to distinguish questions from each other) and sort student results by subtopic. You can also see which subtopics and questions were hardest for students. Student results can also be sorted by “stronger,” “almost there” and “weaker”. If you want to use a game show-style game to generate student performance data and offer extra help to struggling students, Quizalize is the choice for you.

These four — Kahoot!, Quizizz, Quizlet Live and Quizalize — aren’t the only options for reviewing in this way. If you use others, we’d love to see them in a comment below along with why you think they’re great.

Question: Which tools have you used, and what was your experience? What other similar tools have you used? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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17 thoughts on “Game show classroom: Comparing Kahoot!, Quizizz, Quizlet Live and Quizalize

  1. I have used Kahoot since last year and Quizlet for many years. My kids loved Kahoot when I started using it, but now, Quizlet Live blows everything else away. My students asks me every day if we are going to do Quizlet live. The team aspect of the game makes it even better, as the students feel accountable to each other so they do their best.

  2. I use Plickers with my 5th grade class. I use it in place of the traditional whiteboard, but it works the same way. The students are assigned a personal QR Code type image that I have printed large on white cardstock. The cards are anonymous and it is not easy to tell what your neighbor has answered. It eliminates the copying that occurs when some students put up their answers on a whiteboard. I then stand in front of the room and move my phone around to scan the cards. I quickly get a red or green flash to see right and wrong answers, and “magically” the data appears on the screen. They can keep their cards all year, and I just create new sets of questions to go with our units of study. It’s fun and different!

  3. Hi Matt, thanks very much for the write up! We were flattered when Quizlet used our Quizalize team game view as inspiration for Quizlet Live, but it’s great to know that teachers are also valuing the data and insight we provide as this is the real value and differentiation in our products. We aim to make our Zzish teacher dashboards the best dashboards in the world for real-time insight into individual student learning gaps and so enable teachers to give one on one student-centred teaching in the classroom. Note that teachers can already use our Zzish teacher dashboards with Kahoot and we’re adding support for Quizziz and Socrative too. Teachers can simply download the excel spreadsheet at the end of a Kahoot session and import them into Zzish. Many thanks again for your kind support and we’re always delighted to hear feedback and suggestions for improving our products! Charles Wiles, Founder of Zzish, creators of Quizalize.

  4. Overall, my Spanish students’ favorite so far has been Quizlet Live. I originally heard about it on my Facebook networking group called “Spanish Teachers in the US.” Suddenly Spanish teachers across the USA were raving about how wonderful this application was and how very much their students liked the game and engaged in it. Many of my students in their weekly reflection papers on academic growth have expressed that Quizlet Live is the best tool they have found so far to help them learn Spanish vocabulary. My Spanish I students literally beg me to play it.

    Thank you for all the resources, tool and knowledge, Matt. You have inspired and encouraged me for a long time to ditch the textbook more and more often and use these interactive tools in my classroom, and I am a better teacher for it.

  5. I have used Kahoot and Quizizz a lot and like them equally for different reasons. I’m trying to get used to Quizalize. It is easy to type in the questions, but not as user-friendly to get it to run. I feel like I’m constantly clicking here and there and going back to Home to find the right place to get my students started. It’s not as flashy, but it does give wonderful data. I’m anxious to try Quizlet Live next!

  6. Plickers. Plickers is like Kahoots, but you don’t need a device for each student. You print out a card for each student that has a unique shape on it, a number and the letters A, B, C, D. Students simply hold up the card with the letter choice they want (in response to a multiple choice question) and the teacher scans the cards with the app (sounds long, but it can be done quickly and from the front of the classroom. The scan works from quite a distance.) You can create either multiple choice or true-false questions. The results are displayed on the screen for everyone to see. Students like the anonymous feature, but you can also display names with answers. I also like it that you don’t have to display everyone’s answer at first (so noone is being influenced by other answers). You display only the numbers, so you can ensure that everyone has answered the question, then you can show the graph results (bar graph displays how many answered per letter), then finally, you can show the result (the bar lights up green on the graph). Love this progressive aspect. The app is free. You create the questions on the website, then scan with the app. Was a huge success with students!

  7. My issue with Kahoot is that it limits the length of the answer that a teacher puts in- very difficult when using AP-style questions.

    • Not sure if what subject area you are, but I build think time in my Kahoots.

      I duplicate each question. They appear back to back.

      The first question has a long time limit and is worth zero points. The answer choices are “pick red!” and “pick blue!”. Both answers are correct and the students pick an answer after they have processed the question and have an answer.

      The second question is the exact same one, except it is worth points and the answer choices are all available.

      This helps my slower readers and thinkers. It levels the playing field for them.

  8. I’ve used Quizizz and Kahoot. I personally like Quizizz more because students can’t cheat off of others because the questions are randomized. For Quizizz I would say ditch the music and play some clean dance music in the background. My students seem to like it. I also like Bingobaker.com for a slower paced online bingo. I’ve been looking for a jazzed up online bingo but have yet to find it. I may try Quizlet live next.