One of education’s hottest buzzwords these days is gamification: the integration of games into classroom instruction to enhance student learning. Purposeful gamification can allow for personalized learning, increased student engagement, and greater creativity. (For more information about why you should integrate gameplay into your instruction, see this Fractus post by Rebecca Davies)
But what if you’re new to gamification? What if your students don’t all have iPads? What if you don’t know of any games for your grade level or content area?
Enter Kahoot, a free online questioning tool that integrates student competition while giving teachers valuable data about student performance. This website makes it easy to create engaging, media-rich “quizzes” for formative assessments, appropriate for students in upper elementary, middle, and high school. Students can compete with each other to earn the highest score. And they can respond using a smartphone, a laptop or a tablet, which makes it fantastic for BYOD classrooms.
Purposeful gamification can allow for personalized learning, increased student engagement, and greater creativity
But you can do more than just quiz your students with Kahoot. Here are three easy ways to “level up” your gamification game.
1. Check student knowledge before you deliver the content
Who says that quizzes always have to come after the teacher presents the material? Pique your students’ curiosity with a true/false or multiple choice pre-test on Kahoot. Ideally, you should frame the questions so that students will say, “Wow, is that true?” or “I didn’t know that. Why is it that way?” Giving them a taste of what they will learn could make them eager to learn it and spark classroom discussions. You can even build in self-guided learning by allowing students to choose a question to research and report their findings to the class.
2. Allow students to retake the quiz to master the material.
Almost every time students complete a Kahoot in my class, they ask to do it over again. They want to earn a higher score, but they’re also completely engaged in the activity because it’s fun. And since they can only earn a higher score by answering more questions correctly, they’re also learning the material. Kahoot recently introduced Ghost Mode, which allows students to compete against their first-round selves in a second-round game. So, for example, if a student answered 7 out of 10 questions correctly for 6800 points in the first game, she could play against her “ghost” in the second round and try to beat her previous score (as well as those of her classmates). It’s an easy way to build in repetitions of content while keeping students engaged.
3. Get students to create their own Kahoots for their classmates to take.
We teachers spend a lot of time preparing lesson materials; why not put some of the onus on the kids? They could work individually or in small groups to create review Kahoots for their classmates to play before a graded quiz or test. That would be an effective review tool, as well as an efficient way for you to find out the strengths and weaknesses in their knowledge and skills. I’ve also had students create Kahoots as an option for a summative assessment after reading a novel to show how well they understood the plot and themes. Having their classmates play their Kahoots gives students a real audience for their project (and therefore a compelling reason to create a thoughtful, polished product).
What other tools do you use to gamify your lessons? Leave a comment below and let us know your go-to gaming tools for school.
Feature image courtesy of Flickr, EricHolsinger.