Socrative isn’t the only student response system out there these days, so it begs the question – is it still the best? Compared to Kahoot! it most certainly is. So let’s back up and start with a little terminology here folks. Student response systems are ways for students to respond to questions and discussions without actually having to raise their hand and speak. It usually involves some sort of IT component where they can type in their response on a laptop, tablet or hand held device, select an answer or give feedback using an Internet or BlueTooth connection.
Socrative is probably the most well known of these systems – with its bare bones – anyone with an Internet connection can use it regardless of device. Kahoot! also tries to mimic this but with some mixed results. Kahoot! differs in the sense that it is trying to turn it into a game, so there has to be a winner/loser and all questions are worth points. To see all the nitty gritty keep on reading.
Super simple and easy as one should expect these days. The only person in the classroom who needs an account is the teacher. Students join using a PIN code system (much like Socrative). To sign up, Kahoot! wants all the usual info:
- Email address
- It also wants to know your role which I thought was an interesting question. I can’t figure out if they are just mining data or if that will affect who can view or participate in your quiz.
Check out the images below to get a better sense of what I’m talking about – it’s all pretty easy and it looks very nice and easy to complete.
Creating your quiz Kahoot
Once you’ve logged in, you are taken to a dashboard where it asks you to make your first Kahoot! They also let you check out a video that shows you how to make a Kahoot! and what to do once it’s done. The video is OK. The person doing the video has his face in the top right hand corner – it’s a little weird – not in a bad way. It’s weird in the sense that I personally don’t think it brings anything to the video.
So I clicked on Create new Kahoot! and off I went. The question interface is very simple and straightforward. You type in the question and you have 4 multiple choice boxes where you write in the possible answers. Click the box with the correct answer and BAM! You’ve got a question.
As you can see, you can add an image (or even a video – more on that later) to the question. You cannot add more than four choices but you can take away one or two of them if you’d like. When you’re ready to move on, in the bottom right hand corner there are options to do just that.
When you’ve got all the questions done you can then re-order them. Again, this is all very easy and works as it should. Just click and drag the questions in the order you’d like.
Then Kahoot! wants some more info from you, such as is this Kahoot! private or public, who the audience is, etc.
I have to say making the quiz is fast, fun (yes believe it or not) and it works great. I had no issues and I doubt that you would will. I wish there were more response types other than just a multiple choice. Such as a Yes/No, open ended question for short responses, but Kahoot! has to stick with the game design of a winner/loser. I’d like more flexibility but that’s not what it’s all about. Respite that, making the Kahoot! worked great and I was feeling optimistic about Kahoot! I was thinking to myself – yeah, this could be a real competitor to Socrative and the others in the field.
Running the Kahoot!
Like Socrative, you the teacher must initiate the game before anyone can join. To do this just click the Play button where you see your quizzes.
Now once you’ve started the game you get the joy of listening to this awesome song. It’s not all that bad for the first few minutes but after about 10 minutes I was searching for some ear muffs. Listen below.
It just keeps going and going and going like the frickin’ Energizer bunny. I just muted my audio on my computer but if you have videos in your quiz then that becomes a problem. There really needs to be a way to shut the music off but I couldn’t find one.
When you launch the Kahoot! you get a screen with a PIN code. The students must go to kahoot.it and then enter the PIN code. They will then be asked for a nick name. Once they’ve done that there name will show up on the teacher’s screen or the main screen if you will. Nothing happens until the teacher clicks the Start Now button located on that page.
So far so good (with the exception of the music) but now we start to see how limited Kahoot! really is. When the game starts a student can be on any device, just as long as it is connected to the Internet. Sounds like a good idea right? It is if it were done right. The problem is the students cannot see the question on their device. They have to look at the main screen in order to see the question. I kid you not my good reader. So the teacher has to have a projector/TV in the room for everyone to view. If not – forget Kahoot! It won’t work for you.
Now here comes some more problems. Check out the question on the main screen. Looks just fine right? Well . . . no not exactly. First off, the image holder (where it says Kahoot!) is waaay too large and takes focus from the question, which is much smaller and less prominent above it. Check it out if you don’t believe me.
Why not make the question the focus? Why does it have to look like an information banner at the top of the page? It just doesn’t seem to work. Now let’s see what it looks like on my iPhone 4S.
Oh man . . . where is the question? Where is it? OK, I get it – trying to maximize the screen real estate on a small hand held device. How about the choices? Nope – they’re not there either, just these color areas and shapes. Why? How hard would it be to actually get the question on their screens? You made room for the Game-pin but why not some other text? It baffles me. It is a huge factor that makes Kahoot! very limiting. You need a display tool in the classroom to show the question, images and/or video. Without it your Kahoot! is useless except for playing a looping instrumental song that gets stuck in your head.
Now here is another annoying factor. I’ve highlighted it in the image below.
The message that says Slow network, you may experience some delays. Fair enough – as you can see I was on 3G not the WiFi. The real delay comes when you click the box to get rid of it. It is not very responsive itself, so I clicked it again. By that time another question had been posted and I accidentally selected the green square and got it wrong. What?! Now, I’m a grown adult and can handle a little tomfoolery from time to time, but what about a fourth grader? Probably a lot less so. This will cause students to lose their minds, maybe not riot but some strong protesting could certainly happen.
What adds a little insult to the injury is that it the message kept popping up. I couldn’t get rid of it. As soon as I dismissed it a few seconds later it was popping up on my screen frustratingly telling me what I already know. The weird thing is when I connected it to the WiFi I received the same message again and again and again.
For each question it gives points to the correct answers and the leaders are announced at the end of each round and of course the winner is announced at the end. At the end the teacher can click on Feedback & results.
Eventually you get to this screen where you can download the results.
This is pretty nice, as it shows each person who participated, what they answered for each question and who got what answers correct.
Summing it all up
Kahoot! is not terrible, just new and lacking a lot of features. It looks nice, works OK but it is not a tool that I would use a lot in my classroom or at all at this stage. The fact that it requires a screen is a major limiting factor. Not all classrooms have such display tools. The fact that it works on any device as long as it has Internet is nice, but the fact that no question or answer choices are presented in the student display really limits what you can do with it.
They are developing a feature that gives the teacher the ability to add videos to the question. This is nice, especially since you can crop the video down to start and stop at a certain point – that is unless you have an iPad – then the video plays in its entirety. Again, it seems like a nice feature but in practice may cause more problems than it solves.
Also, the slow Internet pop up was extremely frustrating – why have it all? Could the teacher magically increase the speed or bandwidth within the school? I have no idea why that’s there. If a school has slow Internet, I am sure they know about it. I doubt their IT Director is firing up Kahoot! to check out that fact.
Kahoot! is in a tough position. It is not like it was a couple years ago, there are now plenty of student response options and more seem to pop up every year. Kahoot! needs to make itself stand out and right now I just don’t see that. It’s still young and has time to grow, but right now this is not a tool I would use. I see no reason to switch from Socrative.com to Kahoot!