I don’t particularly like quizzes. The snobbish English teacher in me hankers after meaty critical essays or compositions worthy of Steinbeck or Faulkner! But they can be a fun way to revise some quick content, and they certainly can stimulate that all elusive student engagement factor if made interactive and taken online, then gamified and given a competitive edge! That’s exactly what a free web-based application called Kahoot! does!
You need to sign up for an account, but can then easily set up a quiz by typing in a question, selecting possible answers and indicating which is correct. You can add images to your questions, and even videos, although this facility is currently in beta version. Once saved, your quiz is posted online with a pin number. Students can access the quiz using a pin on their laptops, tablets or phones. they give a user name, but do not have to sign in. They then take the quiz (which is timed) and receive scores, competing against others.
The display shows whether they are correct or not and shows what other students guessed. The colourful displays and the use of a count-down timer is pretty engaging, giving a game-like sense missing in many polling or quiz applications.
What looks promising also is the ability to make quizzes public, and share them, allowing access to a considerable library of quizzes. I took one created by another teacher, but the possibilities of getting students to create quizzes for each other is exciting. Once the link is shared anyone can take the quiz.
I seldom use quizzes as a quick feedback mechanism at the end of a lesson – usually because I’m running out of time! I like them as an introduction though, to find out what the class already knows, and to focus attention on the teaching point. Where a significant number of students disagree about an answer, there is an excellent way in to a lesson. As part of a flipped classroom, it is also an excellent way of revising content accessed outside the classroom, and ensuring that everyone has adequately covered the material.
In my own classrooms, though, not everyone has a smart phone or tablet. Most do, but concerns about equity have meant that I have only ever tried this exercise in a computer room, where all had access to desktops. Doing quizzes in pairs though, might ensure that all have access.