Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Online tools for MFL learning - Kahoot

The second website I want to share can be found at www.getkahoot.com and was recommended to me by a couple of members of the #mfltwitterati. If you are familiar with Socrative, then Kahoot is a brighter, noisier and all round funkier version. The idea in its simplest form is that it allows teachers to design their own quizzes which students access and answer in real time via any device they connect to the internet, making plenaries and quizzes a lot more fun. The questions are projected on to the interactive whiteboard and pupils access the mobile site via kahoot.it on their devices, give themselves a nickname and tap the correct answer to the question displayed on the board.

I trialled Kshoot today with a year 8 class, testing the rather dry topic of verb endings. After an active lesson, using actions to practise the different conjugations of comer, beber and tomar in the present tense followed by a quick table game of Otra Vez por favor, it was time to consolidate pupils learning of the verbs from the lesson. I always hate teaching verbs -  a mass of different endings wind up blurred into one and pupils leave the lesson only to have jumbled them up ready for the next time you need them, thus ensuring you revisit them all over again. I can only hope that our rather kinaesthetic attempt at miming them out would help get them into their short term memory, but in order to check this was the case I set up a 'pop quiz' of 10 questions.

Kahoot is really user friendly. I think I prefer it to Socrative as it has the ability to personalise your quizzes with an image, and not just questions. Teachers can save their quizzes publicly so sharing among departments should be quick and easy. Adding questions to quizzes is as simple as clicking 'add question' and typing your next choice in until you have had enough and can save your quiz as it is. The colours are really eye catching and the fonts are fun. It screams 'look at me', whereas I felt Socrative perhaps could do with 'jazzing up' a little - that's not to say I won't continue to use both. 

Pupils really loved the colours too and having tried both, some preferred Kahoot whereas others liked the simplicity of Socrative. Kahoot plays 'lobby music' as users wait for the whole group to have answered the question - this really added to the atmosphere and tension and made the plenary really engaging. What was ultimately the most exciting was the competitive element. Kahoot gives users a score depending on how quickly they answer a question and a leaderboard is shown after each question, and again at the end of the quiz. This was so much easier for me as a teacher, as deciphering the Socrative answers was a bit hit and miss at time (perhaps that's just me however!). 

I would critique that as with any online site, it can be problematic if pupils lose connection and get kicked out, so have that in mind and maybe book some laptops or computers with a decent connection rather than using mobile phones. I would also add that pupils thought it would be easier to have the question displayed on their device as well as the projector - but perhaps they just wanted to gain extra points by answering that split second quicker! All in all, a really fun end to the lesson and after the positive feedback from year 8, I shall be trialling it with other classes this week. It will be hard to forget the buzz in the room today, and all for learning present tense verb endings!

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