Tuesday is for Tools: Kahoot!

Kahoot_Classroom Response Systems (aka “clickers”) have been around a while. 25 years ago, I remember sitting in a meeting at IBM and everyone had what looked like a remote control. The speaker would ask a question and you could push one of two buttons. Things have come a long way since then, but the idea is essentially the same.

The systems have been unwieldy and just too complicated to use without a lot of patience and some tech savvy. And expensive.

Now, 99% of our students have smart phones, and they are the perfect CRS, when combined with a web-based system. Kahoot delivers, and it’s simplicity allows for quick deployment. I have been able to make short surveys, or quizzes in a matter of minutes. I have always wondered what the capacity was, and got a chance to test it at our annual school study trip. I got 185 students to pick the winner of an English contest in a matter of less than 3 minutes. It took about 90 seconds for all the students to sign up, and another 90 seconds to answer 3 questions. Near the beach in Chiba. It was amazing to watch.

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There are 3 types of activities, where you poll students for feedback on an activity or presentation. Most people give a lecture, or part of a lecture, then ask questions about it (quiz mode). Derek Bruff, of Vanderbilt University and writer of Classroom Response Systems, thinks doing it the opposite way is better. Ask questions (in a survey mode) to find out what students know about the topic, and to increase motivation by giving them a taste of what is to come. I now use this approach almost exclusively.

Kahoot has two websites, one for the audience, and one for the presenter. The presenter fashions questions, adds graphics, photos or videos as an option at getkahhot.com, then directs the audience to Kahoot.it.

Response systems increase comprehension by an incredible amount, in some studies triples or quadruples. Requires actives listening and active learning.

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