What is it?

Kahoot is a website that allows you to create online quizzes and surveys.  It requires an account in order to use the site, but this is quick, easy and free to anyone to sign up for at https://getkahoot.com.   One of the great thing with Kahoot is that, once you have created an account, there are no paid-for levels of subscription hiding any premium features, which many websites of this kind have, and therefore no restrictions in terms of the number of Kahoots you can create or questions you can have in each creation.

Kahoots are best delivered to students within a group setting with all participants present, and all at the same time.  While an activity can be completed in a more individual, ad-hoc way, or pre- or post-session, this method seems a bit more complicated and requires students to set up their own accounts for the results to be saved.  I must admit that I haven’t tried this method and so can’t comment on how straightforward it is, but although not an ideal way of delivering a Kahoot, it is worth knowing that it is possible.

Also, in order to get a group of students to complete a Kahoot activity, you need to be able to display it on a screen that all the students can see, ideally with some speakers for sound, and students need to have access to an internet-enabled device of some kind (PC, laptop or, for the best experience a tablet or mobile phone).  So, with these things in place, and a group of students in front of you, you have the ingredients for using this engaging tool.


Creating a Kahoot

There are four types of Kahoot that you can create: survey; discussion; quiz; and jumble.  A jumble Kahoot is an order-sorting version of the quiz which I haven’t used as yet, but I have used the quiz and survey functions, which allow you to create questions with between two and four possible answers for students to choose from.  The limitations in place are character limits for the questions (95) and answers (60), which the developers of the site suggest helps to keep the activities engaging.  You can however add an image to the question (which you could potentially use in a number of creative ways, but also to add further text), or a YouTube video.  When creating each question, you have to set a time limit (up to 120 seconds) for responses and, if it is a quiz, you specify which answer/s are correct and whether to award points for the question or not.

For any Kahoots that have created, you can choose to preview them, which will take you through the delivery of the Kahoot both from your perspective, and what the student will see.  This is a useful way of testing the delivery and functionality of your creation.

Preview function
The Kahoot preview function with how it looks for you on the left, and the student’s device on the right

Running a Kahoot

Delivering your Kahoot, whether it is with a small group or in an assembly with 200 students, is straightforward.  You log-in and choose the ‘play’ option to load up your Kahoot on the screen, for all the students to see.  Students visit Kahoot.it via the browser on their device, enter the PIN that will be displayed on the main screen, type a nickname for themselves which will be displayed on the main screen, showing you who and how many have joined the Kahoot.  Once you have all your participants in, then you simply start the activity.

During the Kahoot, if you are running it as a quiz with points awarded for correct answers, the top-scoring three students will be displayed after each question along with the winning student with the most points at the end.  This is a useful way of introducing a competitive element to any quizzes you create, particularly if there’s a reward for your winner.

A really useful feature is that, for any activity you create, each time you deliver a Kahoot the data from all of the participants’ responses are saved.  You can choose to download this straight after running it, either as an .xls file or by importing directly to Google Drive, or go back to any Kahoot have created and download the set of results from each instance which it was run.

How to find the results area of your account, and the options available


How might you use it?

On the surface, Kahoot is a tool for creating and delivering quizzes or surveys to students, in an interesting and engaging way.  The design of the interface when students are completing it, from the snappy graphics to the catchy music, create a slick and pacey activity of something that can be slightly clunky and/or mundane in other web-based tools of this kind.  The capacity to make quizzes that are scored also adds a competitive element to the activity, which even older students (University-aged for me) find to be quite fun.  If you throw in the odd feline-focused question for the older students, you can quickly get them to buy-in.

I have used Kahoot in a number of ways, including as a survey tool at the beginning of a session to get an idea of students’ opinions/habits, a recap quiz halfway through a lecture to break up an hour-long talk, as well as a starter and/or plenary tool to (loosely) measure student learning.  I think that, while there isn’t a huge variety of tools at your disposal with Kahoot, what you do have available are delivered well, with good functionality and this means that you can be quite creative in how you can apply them in different contexts, whether to recap on a text that you are reading with a book group, to surveying a whole year group in their assembly.

Originally published by the School Library Association, in The School Librarian.  

Iona, J. (2017) ‘Kahoot’. The School Librarian, 65(2) Summer 2017, p.84 (http://www.sla.org.uk/the-school-librarian.php)