Friday, February 14, 2014

Guest Blog: Competition in the classroom?

Ever play Bingo with a bunch of middle schoolers? Big fan of board games? Competition can bring out the best...or worst in some people. Why not bring that mentality to formative assessments!

At West High School, a web-based game response system was introduced last month called Kahoot. It is a free website that allows users to design, create, and play quiz-style games. It awards points based on time and correct answers; showing the leaders after each question and are accessible with any device (iPhone, Android, iPad, Chromebook, or any computer) that has wifi.

Why would you want to use this tool? Games increase engagement, motivation, and participation. And its fun!

So how does it work...first, it takes about 30 seconds to sign up for an account (at

Then, you can start designing your first Kahoot using multiple choice questions. The number of answer choices can be adjusted; you can even include a picture or video to ask a question about. For each question, you can adjust the amount of time that is given to answer it. 20-30 seconds is usually plenty...and it will advance once every player has answered it. Once you are done with creating all of the questions (recommended 10-15 questions at a time), you will be able to play the quiz (or open it at a later time and play it). It will generate a game pin that students will use to access it on their device (at, they will enter the pin and create a username (Remind students that it will be displayed throughout the game so it should be first name and last initial or school appropriate. Another helpful hint is to have the students keep their device “active,” not letting the phone/iPad go to sleep or it kicks them out of the game).

From the student perspective, they will see the question being projected on the screen from the teacher and the answer choices with corresponding shapes. On their device, they will only see the shapes and that is what they will use to answer the questions.

As the teacher, you will still control the tempo of the game. It will time the individual questions. After each question, it will show the correct answer and allow the teacher to advance to the next question when ready; this allows for feedback and discussion on the correct vs. incorrect answers.

At the end of the game, the winner is announced! In addition, students are able to rate the quiz/game. And teachers are able to download the results in a spreadsheet (each players name, their scores and which questions they answered correct/incorrect).

After sharing a quick presentation to my staff, we played a version that featured questions about faculty members. By the third question, the competition was heating up and people were actively involved! I have never seen so much energy at a faculty meeting before! All over a quiz/game!

Since sharing this with the staff, many staff members have incorporated it in their classes; some using the bring your own device option or even working in pairs or teams. The feedback they have shared has been positive and exciting. Spanish, Art, and Business classes have been using it for reviewing topics. Biology students even created their own to be used in class when sharing out information!

Its relatively quick and easy to use and can be a powerful tool for your assessment toolbox!
Try it!

-Mollie Heilberger, Technology Integration Coach, West High School