We were fortunate to find Jim, a 10th and 11th Grade History teacher based in Alamogordo, New Mexico, after he and his class won our holiday competition to “Host the most” kahoots. Jim’s Kahoot! experience spans far beyond being the champion of holiday-themed quizzes. He also masterfully uses Kahoot! for formative assessment, which results in deeper student participation, more confidence and an 18% increase in midterm grades! Here, he shares his story:

Embracing technology for student engagement

I came across Kahoot! as a tool for review after looking online for something to suit my students’ needs. Kahoot! was a great fit – it’s fast, simple to use, and raises engagement! Plus, if my students essentially have a “computer” in their pocket – i.e. their cellphones – why not take advantage of this technology for learning?

One of my biggest challenges as a teacher is how to ensure students don’t become disconnected from or disinterested in their education: I don’t want students to feel like the are incapable of understanding something. The disconnect of the student at the back of the class can be disheartening, but with Kahoot!, every student can participate and rise up! When I have then in my classroom for just 15 minutes, I can use Kahoot! to engage them.

I also love being able to easily track the data on my students – I can go back and re-teach a similar concept via Kahoot! the following day or week, to check in on progress. Students can get burnt out from constant formal assessment, so for me, it’s important to measure what they are actually learning day to day in the classroom.

Jim Shields Case Study cover image

Confidence and performance go hand in hand for students

I find that traditional testing can be inaccurate snapshots, so I prefer to track their learning using Kahoot! on at least a weekly basis, so I don’t have to wait each month for a unit test. With Kahoot!, I can “catch” areas of mastery or misunderstanding, and share the data with other teachers and the Principal at my school.

In the weeks leading up to my semester midterms, I incorporated more Kahoot! into my class, using it every day for a week and a half straight before the tests. As well as informal class participation being stronger, the aggregate scores on my students’ midterms were appreciably higher – around 18% – than the previous year, and year before. I definitely thank Kahoot! for this!

My tips for integrating Kahoot! into your formative assessment strategy:

  1. Plan out your learning objectives from the start – focus on a specific lesson or unit to keep everything clear and build a foundation for your content.
  2. Make the most of the ability to add YouTube videos in questions to reinforce learning – add a start and end time to share a clip, not the whole video! As a history teacher, this is a powerful tool to reinforce knowledge on different history periods, and to juxtapose how things have changed over time. For example, I’ve used a clip of Tiger Woods talking about his experiences being black, to compare when teaching on racial issues in 1920s America.
  3. The question isn’t over when the students answer! Pause after, reshow the video or image, and have a classwide discussion as a result.