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31 May 2017

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Success story: Empowering students to shape their own learning

One of the most exciting and rewarding ways to play Kahoot! is letting students take the lead and create their own games. Read this story from Rachelle Dene Poth, foreign language teacher, and find out how she puts her students in the driver’s seat with Kahoot! (and they love it!)

Rachelle, we know you’re a big believer in technology and use it extensively in your classes. What are the main improvements you noticed?

Technology truly expands the learning opportunities in the classroom. For students, it means new, authentic ways to amplify their learning, to connect with the content in a more meaningful way and to choose how to apply their learning. And for us, educators, technology and the digital tools made it easier to empower students in their learning.

What about Kahoot! in particular, how has it helped you to empower your students?

Kahoot! gives teachers a new approach to delivering instruction, personalizing learning and increasing student engagement. I’m constantly exploring better ways for my students to collaborate and think critically, and Kahoot! has opened up plenty of those opportunities.

Top scores

(Photo credit: Rachelle Poth)

I have used Kahoot! to transform homework assignments into something more personal: the students design their own game, take over the teacher’s role in the class and review the responses. It is great training for them in a specific content area. Students can quickly create a game using the vocabulary or content material that they need to practice, thus providing a more authentic and personalized way for building language skills.

By creating, students can focus on their own needs and develop the ability to self-assess while also enhancing their technology skills in the process. They love to be in control! It benefits not only their learning, but also their confidence in the classroom.

Getting learners to lead develops more confidence and stronger collaboration skills.

Rachelle Poth, foreign language teacher

What other benefits do you gain from flipping roles with students and letting them take the lead?

I learn a lot myself in the process. I see things from students’ perspective, as well as getting to know more about them. I can see the types of questions they create and understand the content that they are choosing to focus on, which allows me to determine my next steps.

Some might think that flipping roles with students can be a risk, but my experience shows that it can be highly beneficial for everyone when we share control with them. It empowers them to explore, create, and share. When we encourage them to become the “creators” and the leaders in the classroom, it promotes student engagement, curiosity and motivation. I recommend everyone to give this type of Kahoot!’ing a try!Learners to leaders-Rachelle Poth

(Photo credit: Rachelle Poth)

It is fascinating to see learners become leaders, and, indeed, we would encourage all teachers to try that. What other tips would you give to educators who want to embrace edtech in the classroom?

In the beginning of the journey, when you start implementing a new tech tool, it can feel overwhelming. But it is simply about taking one step, going in one direction. Here’s what I would recommend when you adopt new technology:

  • Take a look at your classroom and talk to the students – define what exactly you’d like to change in the class.
  • Once you’ve chosen a tool, decide how you will introduce it to the class – maybe through a game?
  • After the first try, make sure to ask students what they think. If they observed an improvement, think about the next step in the implementation. If not, then consider why it didn’t work that well. Maybe you should adjust the way you present and explain the tool? Experiment and find out!

Embracing edtech is about trying one new thing, taking a step forward, and reflecting over the changes it brings.

Thanks for these great tips, Rachelle. Your learners are definitely quick tech adopters! By the way, we have spotlighted your students in the past – tell us how they are continuing to use Kahoot!?

My students continue creating Kahoot! games and they also present at technology showcases. There, they share how they use the platform and how it benefits their learning. They love teaching others about using Kahoot! and helping them to get started. Seeing the students teaching a room full of educators about their favorite tools, leading them through a game, and answering the questions, has been an amazing experience! Learners to Leaders, student centered to student driven learning.

The students have emerged from simply being the learners and using the tech that has been designed for them, to actively advocating for its use and creating it for others.

Rachelle Poth, foreign language teacher

Got a question to Rachelle? You can find her on Twitter!