Insights into Learning

Thing 18 had some really useful food for thought about how to use technology to provide insights into learning. As a relatively new teacher, I’m constantly trying to figure out how I can better shape my teaching to help my students’ learning. I like to use Google Forms for surveys, and I’ve previously posted about how I use iTunes U and PDF Expert to give my students formal feedback on their writing.

Today I thought I’d mix it up a bit by talking about three games which I use for informal feedback on learning: Kahoot, Quizlet Live and SMART Technologies’ Monster Quiz.

Kahoot


I think a lot of people will already know about this quick and easy way to play multi choice quizzes in class, so here is a brief summary of the advantages and disadvantages, as far as I can see them.

Advantages: very quick and simple to set up, heaps of content has already been created (no wheel reinvention required), very engaging for students, can discuss answers to overcome common difficulties and download results for further analysis.

Disadvantages: can get unruly (noise and inappropriate nicknames!), tends to reward speed rather than accuracy (although streak bonuses are helpful), students need to be calmed and paused to review questions for maximum usefulness.

Quizlet Live


I only just got on to Quizlet Live this year (I’ve already used Quizlet quite a bit) and have really enjoyed playing it with my students. It’s a team game where students have to match terms and definitions across multiple devices. They race to earn 12 points, but lose them all if they make a mistake.

Advantages: quick and simple to set up, lots of pre-existing content, encourages collaboration, students are rewarded for accuracy and definitely take more time in answering, students focus on their devices so it doesn’t get too rowdy, can go over results with class at end of game.

Disadvantages: if one student’s device drops out it can ruin things for the team, one student can take devices for him/herself and let teammates just sit there.

Monster Quiz


This is a fun little game included on the software for my smartboard. You need to create a set of multi choice questions, which the students then race to answer in groups on individual devices. Each question answered helps to hatch a monster, and the first group to have all members answer their ten questions wins.

Advantages: fun music and graphics to engage the students, encourages collaboration and teamwork, and my Y9 boys LOVED it (they stayed after school on Friday afternoon to play another game!), results and data is presented at the end so you can go over the answers.

Disadvantages: have to create all the content yourself, and, as for Quizlet Live, sometimes students can take over their teammates’ iPads if they’re not going fast enough! (But they are kept occupied on their own devices until they’ve answered their questions, so at least everyone gets a chance…)

It’s hard to pick a favourite of all of these tools but I think having a variety is quite good – it stops the students from getting bored and keeps them on their toes! I tend to use Kahoot for quick individual reviews at the beginning/end of a lesson, Quizlet Live for introducing/reinforcing vocabulary or concepts over a longer period (going through a list several times until the students’ accuracy improves, and I save the Monster Quiz, being a bit more time consuming to set up, for its novelty factor.

Answer Garden also looks like a really cool tool – unfortunately all my students are off doing exams so I couldn’t try it out with them! I’d love for readers to be my guinea pigs instead; tap here to tell me what you think of my blog. 

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