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6 Mar 2018

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University story: putting theory into practice with Kahoot!

Wondering how you can make class content stick, especially when you teach theoretical subjects? University lecturer Dr Maria Gebbels makes theory practical with Kahoot!

Meet Maria Gebbels, a lecturer at the University of Greenwich, UK. She teaches Research Methods to second year bachelor students in Hospitality management. Since this is quite a complex theoretical subject, Maria needs to get very creative to make sure content sticks and students stay engaged with the topic throughout the lecture. She does so masterfully with Kahoot! We interviewed Maria to ask how she helps her students put theory into practice.

Maria, how would you describe your Kahoot! journey in a nutshell?

I like trying new things in the classroom, so, when I heard about Kahoot! from a colleague, I’d thought I’d definitely give it a go!

Right now, I’m mainly using it in my Research Methods class. It’s a course that all university students have to take in preparation for writing their dissertations. Kahoot! lends itself perfectly to use in that class, as the subject is divided in two parts; the lecture first and then the tutorial. In a nutshell, I use Kahoot! in the tutorial to see how much of the raw material from the lecture has stuck.

Can you elaborate a bit on how you play Kahoot! in the practical part of the class?

I use Kahoot! as a way to assess if students can apply the abstract knowledge from the lecture in practice. I’ll start my tutorial classes with a Kahoot! quiz to immediately get into the right mindset. The quiz will recap the topics that have been covered in the previous lectures and students can test themselves to find out how much information they have retained. My tutorial classes only have about 10-15 students in them, which is a great number to play Kahoot! with.

I love that Kahoot! is so easy to use! My kahoots don’t feature more than 10 questions, as I only have a limited amount of time for each tutorial. Luckily for me, making kahoots is so easy! I have only ever used the “quiz” option on Kahoot! as it has always fitted my needs, but the discussion, survey and Jumble games seem like such fun, too!

Great, you’re making the best out of all game formats! What do your students think?

I actually asked my students for feedback on the tool! The overall consensus was that it absolutely increases motivation and engagement. It’s a great way to instantly see which topics are less understood than others.

I think it’s always good practice to plan in a Q&A session after doing a kahoot. That way, I can immediately clarify any misunderstandings and go over a specific subject again if necessary. Students find Kahoot!’ing very interesting as it’s a way for them to self-assess their level of understanding. On the flipside, it’s also great way to give feedback to teachers! If lots of students answer a question wrong, then the teacher might not have explained it thoroughly enough.

Another reason both my students and I love using Kahoot! is that it creates such a great atmosphere! The subject I teach can be considered very dry and almost abstract. It’s not everyone’s favorite topic and Kahoot! makes it more fun.

When I start class with a kahoot, I can feel the enthusiasm of my students go up drastically. There’s a buzz in the room that normally wouldn’t be there.

This is awesome! You’re doing a great job engaging your students with such complex topics. What would you recommend to university teachers who are only starting their Kahoot! journey?

Keep it spontaneous to drive anticipation. If the students start expecting a kahoot at a specific moment in each lesson, then it isn’t just as exciting anymore. Surprise them with a kahoot to keep it fun and thrilling.

Reserve some time after the quiz for questions. Students might have noticed that they didn’t understand a subject as well as they thought they did. I try to go over the correct answers again to reinforce the content and clarify any misunderstandings that students might have.

If you’re new at Kahoot!’ing, make use of what already exists. Tons of lecturers have made great content already that you might be able to use in class. I do encourage them to go through the quiz first, to make sure that all the questions and answers state what you want them to convey. Search for keywords and pull inspiration from other kahoots you find.