Thoughts on Kahoot!

Have you tried this fun and addicting online game called Kahoot?! Well, it all the rage right now, especially in education technology.

You play the game on a device (tablet, computer, or phone). You project the questions on the board and students answer the (multiple choice) questions by clicking on 1 of 4 shapes on their device. Speed and accuracy are rewarded and after each question, a leaderboard is displayed showing where the top players stand.

In honor of the ISTE Conference taking place right now, I wanted to take a moment to share my thoughts about Kahoot! as an educational tool. While there are definite positives, I do have a few words of caution that I think are important to consider when deciding how this activity might fit into your lessons.

-It is so fun! Adults and kids alike really enjoy it (including me!!)
-Everyone stays engaged, the whole time, even if they aren't "winning"
-You can use pre-made questions or make your own
-It's easy to set up, no student logins needed
-It can be used on pretty much any device
-Great for review question, vocab, etc

Okay, here's where I sound like a party-pooper. Let me start by saying, when I've played with students in a team building situation, it was so fun! I loved it and kids loved it!

My concern has to do with using it specifically in a math class. If we want students to have a growth-mindset, feel safe to mistakes, and understand that intelligence does not equal speed, well, then we need to be careful about asking students to do math problems using Kahoot!'s format where accuracy and speed are rewarded.

If you teach math, it is probably no secret to you that many students feel that math is not "for them." Somewhere along the way, the message that they weren't "good at math" has become part of their identity. Overcoming that is so difficult and we need to take that seriously. I worry that doing an activity where you have to be fast to win will make reluctant mathematicians feel that much more excluded.

If you are mindful of this concern and use Kahoot! once in a while for appropriate questions, there is not doubt that kids will find it engaging and fun. I also want to try the "ghost mode" feature that Cathy Yenca wrote about where students play the same questions again playing against the "ghost" of themselves where their ghost answers the same questions at the same speed/accuracy as before and you try to beat your own ghost!


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