Thing 17: DIY

As is wont to happen, our various readings and explorations often lead us back to the same recommended tools.   Today’s focus is one of those tools:  Kahoot, a  student learning game maker.   While working on Thing 29: Student Response Tools, I read Michael Gorman’s blog posting Free Digital Formative Assessment Tools… Important Thoughts Before Implementing (which offers an important reminder to know your district’s AUP and to protect student privacy).  Kahoot was one of the sites he highlighted and I remembered that it had also been featured in  AASL Best Websites for Teaching & Learning 2014. Intrigued, I decided to find out what makes this resource so note-worthy.

Kahoot allows a teacher to give quizzes (original or pre-made), surveys and post discussions  that feel like competitive games and engage students. As mentioned on AALS Best Websites, Kahoot is “device-agnostic”  and allows students to respond with Smartphones, tablets, laptops and Chromebooks. A visible leader board lets participants watch their progress and amps up the competitive spirit.   I began by checking out the website, which is appealingly designed with simple colorful graphics, but after reading through the homepage, I still had questions.  I turned to YouTube where I found a helpful tutorial by Jason Cross.  Ready to go, I signed up with an email address and was sent a confirmation with links to an intro quiz.  The quiz had a clean, colorful design  with an embedded video and clear graphics.  It modeled the use of color-coded answer boxes, each with a unique shape included which would be an asset when working with emerging/struggling readers.  Teachers may access response reports  allowing them to track student progress and assess question strength,  This feature makes it ideal for student assessments.

I created a Kahoot to be used for library orientation/review with third grade students Rocket Library Challenge.  It was pretty intuitive and the whole process took me less than two hours (without reading the manual).  I was able to load pictures from my desktop to include with the questions  (I used the snipping tool to include pictures from my Opac). One note–no spell check feature for the questions/answers.   I then played the 20 question game on my laptop (Surprise: I won!).  I was then able to download the results of the game which appeared on an Excel spreadsheet.  The participant’s response times and statistics for each question are recorded.  Fabulous!  I am eager to try it out with students!  This could be done in a lab setting or if you are in a BYOD school, you are ready to go.

Future goal:   Create a Thinglink–This tool is too cool to pass up!  Time is running out for today but this oft-touted site would be a huge hit with students.  I would like to use it with my fifth and sixth grade students to present the results of their research projects.  They can select a single visual to represent their work that is then layered with additional text, links, videos and images.  It seems to be a more elegant presentation than  the multimedia poster originator Glogster.  I can’t wait to give it a try!

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