Having experimented with using Kahoot! in a few different ways, I thought it was time to blog about what I think of it as a tool.
What is it?
Kahoot! is a web-based quiz-creator tool. You create can use it to create points-based, multiple-choice quizzes, to introduce a competitive element into a test-like activity or a survey as a collective group. Visually, it is very slick-looking, with good visuals and music, and so it’s good for using in a classroom or large talk to engage a full audience.
For the teacher/creator, it’s very easy to put together a survey/quiz, and students or whoever is taking part can do so on pretty much any device with a data/wi-fi connection. In that sense, it is easy to use, particularly in a HE setting where almost everyone in the room will have a phone that can connect to the university wi-fi.
I thought it would be a really useful tool to use in sessions as a way of gaining information about a group of students, perhaps using the survey function) and as an assessment tool (perhaps as a starter or plenary activity) to get some harder data. Either way, getting this information via a Kahoot! activity looked like it would be an engaging, kind of fun method to do so, and I will outline below how I have used it in two sessions.
Using Kahoot! in a lecture
I first gave Kahoot! a try in a lecture. Early on in my time at MDX, I was tasked with delivering a talk to third year undergrads on the PSY dissertation module, at 5.30pm on a Monday evening, all about using the Library resources for dissertation research. I had the slides delivered last year, so content wasn’t so much of an issue, but I did feel like I needed to introduce some further interactive elements in addition to the activity that was included last year. A Kahoot! survey, I thought, could be added into the lecture at the half-way point as a way of breaking up the session, getting some feedback on the students’ thoughts on a few different Library-related skills and habits. It had the desired effect of introducing a break into the lecture for the students and, at the same time, gave me some interesting information about their knowledge and habits.
If you have a Kahoot! account you can see the survey at https://play.kahoot.it/#/k/d503ffc5-6073-4eb9-912f-28eb5145dbcf or the image below gives you an idea of the questions I posed.
Using Kahoot! in the classroom
I knew this would be a good tool to use in my workshops too, and experimented with it in a few different ways in the most recent one. Originally, I wanted to have a Kahoot! survey at the beginning of the session, and a quiz at the end. The survey would present six references of different sources and types, to see whether students were able to recognise the type of source from the reference. The survey was then interspersed with more general questions relating to their information-finding habits and knowledge of different Library services. The intention was then to deliver a quiz as a plenary which included the same sources from the survey starter to see whether, from the final set of data, there could be any measurement of better success-rated in identifying the correct source-type as a result of the lesson. The problems I had were that, in order to deliver the survey at the beginning of the session, I had to wait for late-arriving students which delayed the start of the lesson. For a starter activity that should have helped set a good pace and atmosphere to the lesson, unfortunately became an activity that delayed the start of the lesson and was (at times) interrupted by latecomers. The plenary activity also suffered as a result of this, as having the first activity delayed meant that there were sessions in which I didn’t have time to use the plenary quiz.
I was able to generate some data to compare effectiveness of the lesson on this skill. So, for example, in four lessons in which I was able to deliver the starter and plenary in the same session, the totals for the correct identification of types of source from the reference alone went from 69% before the lesson to 77% post-lesson. This was from 89 students who took the plenary quiz. Students got better at identifying journal articles in particular, with scores for recognising these sources going from 79% to 96%, and 70% to 82% for the two journal article references, which would suggest some of the content from the lesson looking at journal articles equipped students with strategies for identifying these sources. They also improved at identifying a blog post and online newspaper article, but there was still confusion with other types of sources if they were found online as to the type of source. For example, when the waters were muddied by a webpage from the Royal College of Psychiatrists about being sectioned, they were unsure whether it should be taken as “professional standards” or just a general website. So there is work to be done here on the various types of source, what they are, and how to recognise them, but it was good to see that the core type of academic source saw an improvement in recognition.
Because of the issues I was having with late-arriving students and the flow of the lesson, I switched to just using one Kahoot! quiz at the end of the session, and you can see the questions I posed below. This wouldn’t give me any data for comparing any learning progress, but would be a good way of finishing the session with a fun plenary, which could still give me some data on what had been learned by the end. In general, the quiz was received really well in this context, and students seemed to enjoy the competitive element introduced by the scoring. I only delivered it in this way for three sessions, but was able to see where students were still struggling at least, and should be able to build in to future sessions how I might address this.
I will definitely be using this tool in future sessions, whether it is a lecture or a classroom-based workshop. As an assessment tool, I think it has some benefits as a way of getting a general sense of knowledge or skill in the room, but because of the nature of the quiz (timed questions, full group participation) the data you generate might not be fully representative of each student’s best ability/learning. However, it is a really useful way of breaking up a session, re-energising a group, getting feedback or (gently) assessing learning. Most importantly,. students seem to like it as an activity and it is easy to introduce some humour into the questions in order to keep them interested.