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2 Feb 2021

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Columbia Grammar and Preparatory School takes engagement and review to the next level with Kahoot! EDU

Read how teachers at this NYC-based school have integrated Kahoot! EDU into their hybrid learning model and kept student engagement high in and outside of the classroom.

Teachers and administrators at Columbia Grammar and Preparatory School in NYC are always on the lookout for new technology and learning tools. Last year, with the transition to distance or hybrid learning, they expanded their toolkit with even more solutions such as video conferencing tools. They also connected 50+ teachers who previously used Kahoot! in their classes with a Kahoot! EDU site license.

We’ve interviewed Gustavo Lovato, AP Spanish and literature teacher, Alison Giovanni, GS/MS Learning Resource Center Coordinator and 7th Grade History teacher, and Serena Depero, Technology coordinator, to hear about their experience and best practices.

Kahoot! is a fantastic way to engage every single student - even remotely. Video conference fatigue is real but Kahoot! solves this problem.

Gustavo Lovato, AP Spanish and literature teacher

Please tell our readers a bit more about your school.

Gus: “Columbia Grammar and Preparatory school is a private school based in New York City. Originally, it was founded in 1764 as a preparatory school for Kings College (now Columbia University) and functioned for 100 years under the direct auspices of the college. In the 1950s, we became a co-educational institution. Today, we have 1,300+ PreK-12 students, and 300+ teachers.”

The global pandemic has disrupted the day-to-day work of many schools. How has it affected the learning process at Columbia?

Serena: “In the last few months, we’ve been operating within a hybrid model for grades 6-12, which means that half of our students are in the classroom, and the other half joins from home via Zoom at the same time. Students rotate in and out in different groups throughout the week. Grades Pre-K to 5 go in every day, or have the option to stay home if they want to join remotely. Depending on the situation, we also had to switch to a fully remote model several times.”

Ali: “Our students are pretty tech-savvy so it’s been quite seamless for them to join classes via Zoom – and play Kahoot!, too!”

It’s really impressive how you’re making the most out of technology even in these challenging times! Speaking of technology – how do you select your toolkit?

Serena: “My department purchases and sets up tools based on the teachers’ requests and recommendations. For example, I heard from many teachers that they were using Kahoot! individually and were interested in more advanced features, for example, polls, puzzles and collaboration capabilities. So, I set up our school with a Kahoot! EDU subscription, and it’s been very convenient to add more teachers with a site license.”

How many teachers have you onboarded with Kahoot! EDU so far?

Serena: “55 teachers have already joined, and more and more are interested in joining later. We have several online subscriptions but Kahoot! has been the best – so easy to use, and you can go really creative with customizations. Both teachers and students love it.”

Gus, from your standpoint as a teacher, what’s the main value you see in Kahoot! EDU?

Gus: “I’ve been using Kahoot! since 2017, and I’m a huge fan! When I saw there was a possibility to upgrade, I did it right away. A Kahoot! EDU license is more cost-effective compared to all of us upgrading individually (as I did.) I really like how it supports collaboration between teachers.”

How are you using Kahoot! in your classes?

Gus: “Kahoot! is a fantastic way to engage every single student – even remotely. Video conference fatigue is real but Kahoot! solves this problem. It’s fun but it’s more than that. I can get a report to see how students are doing. Analytics are huge! So, reports are my favorite Kahoot! feature.

Columbia Grammar and Preparatory School hosts a live kahoot

In days of distance learning, I’ve designed kahoots as exit tickets to get a read on how much students learned that particular day. There’s always a question that asks them how they are doing – and they’ll be honest when answering it. They’ll share if they were tired or frustrated, for example. Kahoot! has been really helpful during the pandemic to check in on how students actually feel.”

This is a fantastic idea, Gus! When we can’t see each other in person, it’s so important to check in. What about you, Ali? Please tell us a bit more about your Kahoot! journey.

Ali: “I use Kahoot! a lot for content review, particularly before tests. It really helps me understand how well students learned the material. I’ve been using it about as long as Gus has.

My 7th graders are excited about their next class because they know we’ll have some fun with Kahoot! When we went to remote learning, I was a bit worried that the kids would be burnt out. But they still love it just as much.”

Great work keeping engagement high beyond the classroom! Your experience will definitely be an inspiration for many other teachers and schools. What tips would you give to other educators who are getting started with Kahoot! EDU?

Gus: “With Kahoot! EDU, it’s really easy to get access to other teachers’ kahoots – so remember you don’t have to reinvent the wheel and can use those. But I’d recommend everyone to create your own kahoots as often as possible! We all have our own voices and styles. Explore different features and questions because it works with different age groups and different moments. For example, try adding some slides – an interesting feature!”

Ali: “With Kahoot! EDU, you get access to all question types available in Kahoot! – multiple choice quiz, true or false, polls, puzzles, etc. I like all the different formats of asking questions. For example, polls are great for a quick temperature check to see where everyone is at.

Depending on the age of your students, I suggest just giving them one type of question at first. Once they get comfortable with the Kahoot! platform and that question type, add another one in.”

Thank you, Gus, Ali and Serena, for sharing your experience with our readers!

Inspired by this school’s success story? Learn more about Kahoot! EDU and get started today!