In the last few weeks I’ve been able to use Kahoot in my classroom, and to be honest I’ve loved having it in there.
What is Kahoot?
For those that don’t already know about it, Kahoot is basically an online quiz that students can take, where you as the teacher make up all the questions. As a teacher I could input the questions and the possible alternative answers fairly quickly (although i’d love a batch upload tool). The quiz is live, so it is a requirement that there be either a one to one ratio of students to devices, or alternatively make it a team/pairs question. Although I would highly recommend the one to one ratio.
I used kahoot in my classroom originally as a bit of fun, just to see how students would react. The session was on a day of fun where students were to mainly have fun and have incidental learning. The topic was based on science, and it was just meant to be a fun filler for a half hour session for parents to come in and check out their learning environment. The engagement in the quiz was the highest engagement I’ve ever had in anything I’ve done. The children were screaming and shouting especially to see who was on top of the leader board and were so engaged that parents that entered the room where ignored because they were just so involved. However it had another effect that it wasn’t until looking at the data provided by kahoot later that showed just how much students had improved the second time.
The students results moved from 65% first time to 95% on the second time.
Formative Assessment Tool
Kahoot use as a formative assessment tool is interesting. The way I see it working is this, students answer the questions and by answering the questions we get to gauge exactly where their learning in the particular subject is. This will be a true reflection of their knowledge, and you also can see the answers they give you which can sometimes be very enlightening. Below is the first assessment I used that was meant to be fun.
Within this snippet you can see the students scores, how many they answered (some weren’t in for the whole time) and some basic statistics including the correct, incorrect and they also get a score for the time they take which brought about a great competitive spirit, and introduced Games Based Learning into a classroom that had never had it.
The main issue I’ve found so far are the following.
- Time it takes to input the questions and answers into the website
- Excitement level on the first time on using it was extraordinary, which in a classroom that previously had little competition was very interesting.
- Make sure the time it takes to read the question and answer the question isn’t too long. I set the time to be the longest and it automatically went to the next question when everyone was complete.
This is just another tool to add to the bow of the connected 21st Century teacher. A teacher who uses their formative assessment to inform their teaching. It is basically a more advanced version of using multiple choice questions, however all the marking, data gathering, statistics and results are collected for you and are presented in an easy to use and readable format.
Disclaimer: This site has no affiliation with the software, I have just used it and I enjoy using it in my classroom.
Literacy is vital to be able to code. Although it is a different type of text reading and different type of decoding of text they are still extremely intertwined. As coding/programming is predominately text based except for scratch and a few other visual programming languages, the ability to read and write is vital in code. Without it, nothing works.
There are many advantages to learning to code in the classroom setting, or generally if the child/student has a curiosity about it. I find that many students have their inbuilt curiosity to make things move on a screen. They see it in apps, and to a certain point they normally manipulate something on the screen but for many students they would like to see their own creations and their own games happen.
For me the best part about teaching coding to younger students is helping them to learn and cement their literacy skills without them actually knowing it.
Scratch uses easy to understand words throughout most of its language, which makes it ideal for beginning readers and those that can read well. As the words used in scratch are used as instructional to manipulate the different objects you would like to, the language is kept to a minimum. In fact the hardest part of the language to understand is the x and y parts of the screen that it utilises. The great part about scratch is that everything is colour coded. This means that students who have trouble reading are still able to manipulate and use scratch and they learn by doing. For example in the below situation, it is focused on the movement of an object. The conditional language of when up arrow = key pressed is in brown, and the actions are in blue. Direction is probably one of the harder words throughout using scratch as well.
The key takeaway is this; Students will learn by doing, and will incidentally learn to read (well at least these directions) if they really want to make their game.
Reading in a set format
Reading code is different to reading a narrative, however it is extremely similar to reading an informational text. There is a procedure when reading code, which is a big necessity when learning to code, because when learning to code you make many, many. many mistakes. Reading and re-reading what you have made an object do is paramount to becoming a successful programmer. Reading the above instructions the students will need not only to read and understand the words, but also decode what it is saying and what is happening on the screen.