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.
Even aching, sick to my stomach or feverish 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. (Playing Plinko was a dream of mine!) 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.
These “gameshow classroom” websites do a number of things …
- Create an electric atmosphere for answering questions.
- Provide fun, interesting repetitions.
- Make in-the-moment feedback possible.
We have a growing number of “gameshow classroom” options. Here are some of the ones I’ve found that I think are the best:
Kahoot! is the granddaddy of the game show review games, launched in August of 2013. In a standard Kahoot! game, questions are displayed to students on a projector or display. Students respond on their own devices.
- It’s a shared experience. Everyone responds at the same time. That also means we can provide feedback to everyone at the same time.
- There are millions of publicly created Kahoot! games you can use (or duplicate for yourself and change).
- Students are likely very familiar with it, meaning it can be plugged into a lesson with little time to learn a new app.
- The speed of a traditional Kahoot! game can make some students feel like they’re left in the dust.
- It’s easy for students to see each other’s responses and copy. (Just look at all of the screens the student in the foreground of the photo can see from his desk.)
- Ghost mode. Kahoot! remembers how each student scored on each question. When you play the game again in 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.)
- The mobile app. This versatile app lets you create Kahoot! games on the fly, add pictures from your camera roll, and even host a Kahoot! game from your mobile device. Students can participate in Kahoot! challenges against classmates on their own devices.
- The friendly nickname generator. Have you ever battled naughty nicknames in a Kahoot! game? The generator will let students spin to choose from three appropriate nickname options.
Alternative ways to play
- The Blind Kahoot! game. It’s a way to teach with Kahoot! instead of just reviewing. Throw students a tricky question at the beginning. Then use images, videos, class discussion and questions to teach it. It’s scaffolding — teach a little, ask a question, repeat, repeat, repeat. Learn all about the Blind Kahoot! game in this blog post!
Quizizz takes the excitement of a gameshow-style review game and puts the whole experience in the students’ hands. With a traditional Kahoot! game, 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.
- It’s student-paced. No one gets upset because their device didn’t load the game fast enough to compete.
- Teachers can display a student progress dashboard on the projector to see progress of each student and instantly see how many questions the class answered right/wrong.
- 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.
- 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.
- Homework mode. Students don’t have to complete a game live in-person. You can use homework mode to assign it to be completed by a deadline. As someone who believes in ditching homework, I prefer homework mode to be used in rotation stations, centers and as part of choice boards instead.
- Add audio, images and math equations. When creating a new question, use the icons next to the question you're writing. The "math" button loads a keyboard of math symbols. The "media" button lets you upload audio or image.
- Power ups. Correct questions get students these powers, like immunity (second chance after incorrect answer), power play (everyone gets 50% more points for 20 seconds), and x2 (double points for one question).
Alternative ways to play
- The Fast and the Curious eduprotocol. By using Quizizz in this way, you reduce (or eliminate) your need for worksheet-based homework. Play a quick Quizizz game and look at the results. Do a quick re-teach or mini-lesson about students’ struggles. Replay the game immediately. Repeat this on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday. On Thursday, if students average a 90 percent or higher, give everyone an A and move on. Jon Corippo, co-author of The EduProtocol Field Guide, describes The Fast and the Curious eduprotocol on this episode of The 10 Minute Teacher podcast.
- Student-created Quizizz games. Students can submit questions to be asked in a Quizizz game using Google Forms survey. Import the data from the spreadsheet connected to the survey into a Quizizz game instantly and play the game. It’s low-prep, student-driven review fun! See how in this tutorial video by California educator Joe Marquez. And, hear Quizizz founder Deepak Joy Cheenath describe it in this episode of the Ditch That Textbook podcast. (Note: Spreadsheet import is now an option for Kahoot! too.)
Quizlet Live (quizlet.com/live)
Quizlet’s foray into the game show-style review is the best collaborative game. 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. Teams race to get all answers correct in a row to win.
Need to know how to set up and run a Quizlet Live game? How to start a Quizlet Live game in 60 seconds + tips and tricks
- 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.
- Play games with Quizlet flashcard sets. Quizlet Live runs from Quizlet flashcard sets. That means you don’t have to create anything new if you use Quizlet and already have flashcards OR if you can find a Quizlet flashcard set you like.
- A new game every time. Each new Quizlet Live game is different. When a game pulls a dozen cards from a Quizlet flashcard set, there are tons of combinations — especially when there are LOTS of flashcards. Start a new game and Quizlet mixes up the cards for a new combination.
- You need at least six students to play a game (at least two teams of three students) and at least six cards in a flashcard set.
- If you’re looking for something more individual to play as a group, Quizlet Live may not be your game.
- True team play. This is the best collaborative experience of the “gameshow classroom” options. One student can dominate in a team game on Kahoot! or Quizizz. When each student has only a handful of correct responses, everyone has more opportunity to participate.
- Built-in movement. Students are put into small groups and are encouraged to move next to their partners. This mixes up their environment and encourages physical movement, which boosts cognitive function.
Alternative ways to play
- Quizlet Quarterback. This game further ensures that one dominant student doesn’t hijack the game. In a group of three, set all three student devices next to each other on desks. Two students sit and one student stands behind them. When a question appears, the standing student reads it and finds the answer. He/she taps the shoulder of the student closest to the question and that student answers the question on the screen. This is one of several alternative Quizlet Live games suggested by New York educator Patrick McMillan in this post.
Click for full-size image (with more legible text!).
Relay. In this game, line up all student devices in a row. Students take turns answering questions. This is another alternative Quizlet Live game suggested by New York educator Patrick McMillan in this post.
Gimkit (gimkit.com) is like Quizizz with power-ups. In Quizizz, students collect points cumulatively throughout the game. In Gimkit, students use their points to buy power-ups in the store. Power-ups let students earn more points per question, get additional points when they hit a streak, and even lose less points when incorrect.
"We don't do tests." Learn how teacher Omoyemwen Ngei uses Gimkit to create assessments her students love.
- New game mechanics. The upgrades put a new spin on reviewing. They’re used to buying upgrades in games. Now they can add that new dynamic to digital review games.
- Its backstory. Gimkit was created by students in Seattle, Washington, and it’s still maintained by them. They made the game they wanted to play and then shared it with the world.
- Quizlet integration. You can import a Quizlet flashcard set into a Gimkit game if you have the paid version of Gimkit.
- Pricing structure. You only get to create five games with the free plan … and you have a finite amount of modifications you can make to them. Then it’s $59.88 per year or the $7.99 monthly plan. A robust free version is an essential piece of many edtech tools, and Gimkit’s free version is lacking … not enough to hook a teacher and help him/her realize he/she needs the full paid version.
- Limited searchable gallery. With the above options, you can tap into thousands (or millions) of teacher-created games. Unless you have the paid version and import Quizlet sets, the gallery is really lacking.
- Purchase upgrades. Students can spend points from correct answers in the store to buy upgrades to earn points faster. They include insurance (less points for a wrong answer) and money per question (more points per right answer).
- Live view with class progress. The screen projected to the class as students answer questions is unique. It shows how everyone’s points as a class add up together. This encourages class vs. class competition.
- KitCollab. This feature lets students create a Gimkit game together. Each student suggests a question. The teacher approves questions to be used in the game.
These four — Kahoot!, Quizizz, Quizlet Live and Gimkit — 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? Leave a comment below.
Looking for more teaching ideas like these?
Get three FREE ebooks sent right to your inbox!
For notifications of new Ditch That Textbook content and helpful links:
- like Ditch That Textbook on Facebook
- follow @jmattmiller on Twitter
- check out the #DitchBook community on Twitter
- follow Ditch That Textbook on Pinterest
- subscribe to the Ditch That Textbook YouTube channel!
Interested in having Matt present at your event or school? Contact him by e-mail!
Is Matt presenting near you soon? Check out his upcoming live events!