Kahoot!

Kahoot! Is a free online game-based classroom response system. In other words, it is a website on which you can create quizzes, discussions and surveys. Then, you can project your quiz on a screen at the front of a classroom, and students can answer questions in real time on their own mobile devices.

 


How it works and features

Kahoot! is very simple to use, but most of all, it is really fun! It can be played in different environments, for instance in classrooms of any levels, during conferences or lectures, with families, at the workplace to check the understanding after a meeting, etc. The game master simply has to create an account (free) on https://getkahoot.com. Then, the game master can create as many different quizzes as he/she likes. After the quizzes are created, the game master can project his/her Kahoot! on the screen at the front of the group and invite the players to play via their own mobile devices.

The steps:

  1. First, after logging in your account, you select what kind of Kahoot! you want to create: A quiz, a discussion or a survey.
  2. You give your new quiz a title.
  3. You create your questions.

First, you type your question in the “Question box”. Then, underneath the “Question box”, you have another box into which you can drag or drop an image or video from your computer. If you choose not to upload one of your pictures, Kahoot! will put one of their own for you. This way, it makes the quiz more engaging. Then, you add as many multiple choices of answers in the little boxes underneath the image. You simply have to select which answers are true, and which are incorrect. More than one answer could be a correct answer. You can assign how many points the questions is valued, and the time limit for the participants to answer it (between 5 and 120 seconds).

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  1. Then, you can add questions to your quiz, delete questions, duplicate questions or save your completed quiz.
  2. At the end of the quiz creation, you have to set in what language it is, you have to choose the privacy settings (public or private*) and select the intended audience (school, university, business, event, social, etc.). You can optionally add a description of your quiz, and assign a difficulty level (beginner, intermediate, advanced). Finally, you can tag your quiz with key words like for instance the topic, the academic qualification level, etc.

* When you choose the public privacy setting, everyone using Kahoot! can play your quizzes and duplicate them and edit them. If you choose the private setting, you will be able to play with your whole class if they have the PIN, but everyone else using the website will not have access to it.

  1. Only if you wish to, you can give your quiz a cover image.
  2. At any time, you can go back to all of your different quizzes and edit them as you like.
  3. If you wish to, you can share your Kahoot! on the website community page, on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google Plus or by e-mail.
  4. Your quiz is now completed and ready to be played!

How to play with other people!

  1. Hit play now. You will get the a page with the name of your quiz at the top, and different choices of settings: Display game-pin throughout, randomise order of questions, randomise order of answers in each question, play music in the lobby while waiting for people to join the quiz, display your venue’s wifi details to players, etc,. After choosing your settings, click on Launch.
  2. The “Lobby” will now be opened for players to join in. You have to project your Kahoot! at the front of the class.
  3. Participants who have a mobile device and access to a wifi or their 3G have to go on the internet and go to the website: Kahoot.it
  4. Then, they have to enter the game-PIN showed on the game master screen. They choose a nickname and automatically appear on the “Lobby”.
  5. On the Lobby, you see the number of players logged in.

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  1. The game is now started! Each questions appear on the game master screen, with the different choices in different color rectangles. On their devices, the participant do not see the question, nor the answers. They only have the color-coded rectangles associated with the answers displayed at the front of the classroom. They have to select their answer by choosing the right rectangle on their devices, and fast enough so their beat the clock.
  2. When the time is up, the right answer is displayed on the game master’s screen, with statistics of how many people chose which answer. (For example, 10 people chose yellow, 3 people chose red, 6 people chose green and 12 chose blue.)

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  1. There is an icon “re-show image” that allows you to go back to the question and give the explanations for the right answer.
  2. Next, the scoreboard is shown on the screen, showing the 5 best positioned participants and their points.
  3. You repeat this sequence question by question until the end of the quiz.
  4. At the end, participants can rate the quiz on their devices, according to how fun they found it, did they learn something, and would they recommend it to somebody.

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Kahoot! for ESL teachers

Kahoot! is a very nice interactive way of teaching and learning. It can be a really fun way of checking the understanding of the students for many different levels. For instance, if you play with a group of second grade students who are learning English as a second language and are real beginners, you can play Kahoot! by showing pictures of vocabulary items they are learning as questions, and they have to match the correct definition. For instance, you show a cat, and they have to tell whether it is a cat, a dog, a mouse or a duck. You simply allow them a longer time to respond, according to their ability level. For a little more advanced group of students learning prepositions, you can show a picture of an apple on a desk. The answers should suggest: Is the apple on the desk?, under the desk?, beside the desk?, etc.?

English teachers can also use Kahoot! at all secondary levels. An interesting way of doing it would be for instance, if the students had to read a book, the questions could all be related to the content of the book. This way, by seeing the students’ answers, the teacher can easily check the understanding of the students, which part were more difficult, and which students in particular did not seem to understand anything, or even who did not read the book at all.

Using this tool once in a while keeps the students interested, and it can bring a less fun teaching topic (like grammar) to be more exciting and enjoyed by the students because of the interactive side and the competitive aspect. A teacher can use the tool to identify what is the hardest for the students and then go back to it and give further explanations. It is also very motivating and rewarding for the students to see their name in the top 5 on the teacher’s screen. The competitive aspect can engage students to do better and better. Also, you retain more information when you are engaged in the process. By remembering “Oh yes, I saw this question when we played Kahoot!” the student might remember more efficiently the material.

This latter idea was also mentioned on the Ed Tech Review website. The author cited an old Chinese proverb that well illustrates the idea: “Tell me and I forget, show me and I remember, involve me and I understand.”

An Edshelf review adds that it is a great idea for students to create their own quizzes. By doing so, they reinforce their learning because they are thinking of some tricky questions about the material, but also, they have to think of potential wrong answers, and this helps them get the hang of materials that could be confusing to them.


My personal opinion

I have discovered Kahoot! during a SPEAK on Campus conference at Laval University. The lecturer made us get our cell phones out to play the quiz. I thought it was really fun, because it is different from what we are used to in classrooms. It gave a different beat to the room: everyone who were sleeping in their seats woke up and were excited to play something different and engaging. I really like the competitive aspect, as it motivates everyone to answer well and rapidly, so as to find our names on the top 5 chart. I believe that using Kahoot! as a way to quiz the students is less stressful for them compared to a traditional test on paper, that has to be completed in silence in a certain amount of time. Students see it more as a game, but because they want to gain points, they respond thoroughly to the questions. I also liked the fact that it is very simple for all the students to log in. It takes maximum 3 minutes for everyone to join, because there are only 3 clear and concise steps. I will definitely use this tool in my future ESL career, and I find the invention very exciting.

The only pitfall of this tool, is that most of the time, cell phones are not allowed in classrooms. In this case, allowing students to play Kahoot! on their phones would go against the school rules, and I am not sure it is a good idea. But, it may be feasible if you have the principal’s permission, and if you are sure that your students are responsible enough not to take out their phones on “off Kahoot!” time. However, nowadays, some classes are provided with iPads for every students. These classes would certainly benefit from using Kahoot!.

Explain Everything

Explain everything is an app available for apple devices, android and windows. It is a great tool for teachers especially. You can create screencasts of yourself talking while writing and adding images to an interactive white board.

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How it works and features

 

Explain everything has many features. First, you can insert any images, videos, Powerpoints, Pdfs, screen captures, sound files or documents of your choice into your Explain Everything project. You can also record your voice and annotate anything on your screen and even add more pictures or files at the same time. Anything that you add to your screen is moveable, even the annotations or drawings that you make. You simply have to drag these items at the same time as you record your screen cast. When you play your final presentation, the audience does not see the cursor. As a result, we only see the different objects moving, like animations. If you wish to point what you want to emphasis or direct the attention to, there is a virtual laser pointer, which will be seen in the final project.  At the bottom of you project in creation, there is a timeline, which shows you the different steps of your recording with markers (when you hit pause, when you added an image, etc.). This allows you to easily go back and redo any part you wish to modify.

There is a crayon available, to draw or annotate, with a lot of colors available. You can also highlight texts, since you can vary the opacity degree. You can insert pre-made shapes, arrows, lines or even stars from the menu bar on the left side of the screen. You can insert text boxes if you wish to have typed writings instead of written ones. There are many fonts available, and you can vary the size too.

You can organize the order of all the different objects added on your screen to facilitate your work. This means that you can group some objects together, so they will all move together when you drag them. Also, you can set some objects as backgrounds, to prevent them to move inadvertently when you move other objects around. You can bring back previously added objects to the front, allowing them not to be hidden behind newly added images or objects.

There are multiple tutorial videos available on Morris Cooke website, to help you gain some expertise and tricks to well perform on your own afterwards.

Once your project is finished, there are many possibilities available to you to either export your projects or share them. You can connect to many cloud services like Dropbox, Evernote, Google Drive, etc. You can also upload you video on YouTube or Vimeo if you wish to make it public. Or, you can simply save your work on your computer and project it on screen to your class with a projector.


 Explain everything for ESL teachers

Explain everything is a great tool for English teachers. You can easily create all sorts of videos, either educative or for entertainment. Explain everything would be an awesome tool to consider for those who have flipped classrooms. As the time in class in flipped classroom is destined for communication and exercises, the lessons and explanations of grammar rules are explained outside of class. This app is perfect for this purpose. The teacher can give his lecture while recording his voice and writing and pointing on the screen at the same time. He can create templates, use different images and even videos over which he can write and comment.  The applications is well done as a kind of “animated slideshow presentation” which allows you to change pages and start something new, but inside of the same video. Also, you can save a lot of time, because you do not have to edit you videos. For instance, every time you want to, you hit pause and the recorder stops recording. Then, you can modify your screen or prepare what you are going to say. When you are ready for the following, you simply hit play again and the recording will be added right after where you paused. This interesting feature permits you to save a lot of time, and is a considerable advantage, for those (like myself) who are not that good with editing softwares! Teachers who use the flipped classroom method are known to be spending a lot of time creating the videos for their students to watch at home. The videos they make have to be very concise and clear, since the student at home cannot ask questions in real time, and the teacher cannot see the looks of incomprehension on the students’ faces as the lesson goes along.  So with this app, which is highly versatile and allows you to save a lot of time, it should be used by all these teachers.

As cited in an app review on edshelf, a discovery engine of websites, mobile apps, desktop programs, and electronic products for teaching and learning,

“Explain Everything is currently being used by thousands of teachers and students in over 60 countries. Hundreds of videos are added each week to YouTube”

According to Mark Fijor, a blogger on new school technologies, Explain Everything is a must for all teacher and students to have on their electronic device. He also mentions that Explain Everything is not only for teachers. In fact, he encourages teachers to have their students use the app in class, for their different projects:

 “Explain Everything is an app that allows students to create, collaborate, communicate and consume content at any age.”


My personal opinion

I think that the app is very useful. I have used the free version to create a video assignment in one of my class, and I have experimented on it plenty to understand all of the functions and features offered in the free version.

explaineverything

Explain everything is fairly simple to use because there are not tons of different features available. Personally, I have tried the Windows 8 version since I own a Surface Pro 3, and not an iPad. I think there is definitely an advantage to use it with the Surface, because you can use your Stylus. Since you use the app to write on the screen at the same time you talk, and for English teaching purposes, you might probably end up having to write sentences and words, it is much easier and naturalistic to use the stylus instead of your finger. I think it’s very pleasant to finally have an app that is not exclusive to Apple devices for once. A greater range of users can benefit from it. However, I have encountered a few inconvenient problems with the app. For instance, I had to start my project all over about 5 times because the application kept closing in my face while I was working on my video. It may be due to the free version, but I am not sure. Also, the app is not that user-friendly when it is the first time you use it. This may sound as a contradiction because I previously said it was fairly simple to use, but what I mean is: it is simple to use, but only once you are used to it. What I mean by that is the menu is not that clear. You have to use the tool bar which is made of symbols icons. However, when you pass your curser over the symbols, no written form appears to tell you what the purpose of the icon is. On the other hand, once you are used to these symbols, then it is very easy to use. I would recommend using it to all teachers of all subjects, and I am sure that I will use this tool at one point in my future teacher career. They make the videos very captivating to watch, and you can custom your videos and lessons without compromises.