Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Just for Kahoots!

Our students have been LOVING Kahoot! Here's what we've figured out for staff and students that want to utilize this powerful web-based assessment tool. Kahoot! is a web-based multiple choice quiz game. The appeal is that it's accessible on any device with an internet connection, it gives immediate feedback to students after each question, as well as ranking them with other students and displaying a leaderboard for each question, and it has the option to download results to a spreadsheet for instant assessment data for teachers.

To play Kahoot! you need at least two devices connected to the internet. One will be game host (teacher) and the other ones will be the game players (students). It's recommended that the game host device be connected to a projector for larger games. Teachers need to set up a free account requiring an email and password with Kahoot by visiting getkahoot.com Once that's done you have a couple options - search and play a public Kahoot or create your own. Public Kahoots are created by other users and searchable with a variety of fields, including audience level or topic. Click on the title of the Kahoot to review the questions and see if it's what you're looking for. Then you can play directly from the search page or choose "Favorite" to add it to your personal list for faster access at a later date.

To create your own Quiz, Discussion, or Survey simply click the appropriate icon. It prompts you to add a title and begin creating questions. You can type a question of up to 95 characters. You can also add a related image or video for each question. Hint: If you require more characters for your question, print it and take a picture then upload that instead. Under each question there are a possibility of four multiple choice answers that usually allow 60 characters of text. You can choose whether the question is a "points" or "no points" question (used for calculating leaderboard ranking) and also adjust the amount of time students have to consider and answer the question before it automatically reveals the answer. You can reduce the amount of multiple choice options as needed but you cannot add more than four choices. It prompts you to select which answer(s) is correct before moving on to the next question.

When you've finished building your Kahoot it allows you to reread and reorder the questions, then it prompts you to choose a privacy level (public if you want others to be able to benefit and enjoy your hard work!), audience level, and add tags and a description. Finally, it allows you to add an image that will display once the Kahoot is launched or even a YouTube video that will play in the "lobby" while students are signing up and their names are appearing on the projector screen. Hint: To add a YouTube video simply copy ONLY the number and letter code of the video at the end of its URL and paste that into the box at the bottom of that screen.

When you're ready to play the Kahoot with students, fire up the game host (by going to getkahoot.com and logging in to your account) and select the Kahoot of choice and turn on the projector. It will prompt you to Launch the Kahoot and give you four toggle options. I recommend turning ON all options (except perhaps the "randomize question order" option if you've created the Kahoot in a particular order) especially the first one that will keep the Game Pin displayed at the bottom of the screen throughout the game. That way if student devices have issues or if someone comes in late, they can quickly and easily join the Kahoot already in progress.

On the game player device's end there's a few hints:
1. If they're joining the Kahoot they need a working browser (not Explorer, no surprise there) and they type in kahoot.it in the URL box (create a link if you're playing with younger ones and/or have networked computers where this is possible). If they type it in the Google search field or click any of the suggested links it will NOT take them to the right screen, this must be exact.
2. They will be prompted to type a Game Pin and then touch Enter. The Game Pin is only displayed from the game host device as are all the questions and answers so they must be seated in a place to allow easy viewing of the projector.
3. After entering a valid Game Pin they are prompted to type a "Nickname". We've established the norm that this means their first name only. It's not a big deal for "just for fun" Kahoots but if you allow them to type random things as nicknames for Kahoots you want for assessment then the data will be useless unless you have them submit their nicknames to you in advance. Hint: Teachers can eject a name from the game on the lobby screen by clicking on it. (Great update!)
4. Once all players have joined the game you're ready to begin! Hint: If students are using a device with a screensaver, such as an iPad, when the screen goes black their name will disappear from the lobby list and from the player count. Don't panic! As soon as they open the screen again it will reappear.

Playing the Game:
1. Teacher begins once all students have joined the game.
2. Students read the question and answers from the projector while their device shows a count down followed by the four (or less) colours and shapes. THIS IS ALL THEY SEE ON THEIR DEVICE. They must read all the text via the projector and then make their selection from the colour shape on their screen.
3. Their choice is displayed on their screen once made and their is no real editing of the answer. Hint: If you're using this for assessment have students seated and set up with something to block their screen from other students. It's also a good idea to have played Kahoot for a fun a few times to get the noisy excitement out of their system and discuss the noise expectations (such as not calling out the answer) during a "real" Kahoot just like they wouldn't do during a paper and pencil test.
4. The question will show the correct answer when the time is up, when all players have answered, or when the teacher selects "next".
5. Immediate feedback is given on the projector in the form of a bar graph of all the answers and which one was correct, followed by a leaderboard and also on their devices in the form of whether their answer was right or wrong and their ranking compared to one other student in the game. (Leaderboard and rankings seem to be determined by speed of answering correctly.) The "winner" of the game is whoever is first on the leaderboard for the last question of the game.
7. When the Kahoot is finished the next screen is a feedback screen which appears on their devices and allows students to rank their feelings and learning and recommendations for this Kahoot. Total feedback shows interactively on the projected screen.
8. Following the feedback screen the game host device is given the options to favorite, play again, play a different Kahoot, or return to previous screen. Students can refresh their browsers to bring them back to the kahoot.it Game Pin menu to play a new Kahoot.
9. For assessment, teachers select the fifth option on this screen Download Results. This will populate an Excel spreadsheet, opening on that computer that shows students ranked from best to worst performance and includes fields for their name, the amount of correct answers, the amount of incorrect answers, their points score, and their responses (colour-coded red for wrong and green for right) for each question. Fantastic time-saver!


Friday, 9 May 2014

Essential Skills: Super Phonics Star Tracking Google Form

We've been fortunate to have access to the superb literacy program known as Essential Skills. Our lower grades have been introduced to basic computer competency skills earlier in the year (norms for our school's laptops) and are now ready to begin playing the first game of Essential Skills called Super Phonics. Students receive stars to track their progress along the game and it is extensive but difficult to track if students are in the right place or if they've moved beyond their reading level by mistake (or on purpose!). So I developed this form which I will begin using next Library class to track students' progress. Each time they get a full page of stars they already raise their hand to show me and receive a congratulatory high-five, now I will bring a device along to update their form as well.  It's the first time I've used forms, so hopefully it works smoothly. I've embedded the form but can't seem to get it to be live, so here's a link if you'd like to have a look.