Do you want to play a game? Kahoot appeals to the human desire for play and competition which, when properly introduced in a learning or training environment serves as a great icebreaker and tool for the instructor to assess the students and their respective individual knowledge bases. I was introduced to Kahoot during a class on utilizing technology to enhance presentations to adult learners and while I was initially hesitant since the website seemed geared towards little kids, it was surprising how quickly the members of my class became immersed in taking the Kahoot quizzes especially when we were placed into groups that competed with each other for top scores. The instructor stoked our competitive fires by offering token awards such as candy for correct answers. I found Kahoot provided a means for our instructor to quickly gauge where we stood in relation to our knowledge of the subject matter (classroom technology) being taught in way that was fun and unpretentious. Kahoot is a free web-based tool that allows instructors, discussion leaders, and supervisors to present multiple-choice or true/false quizzes to a group in real-time and the group/class members can take the quiz on any available platform e.g., desktop, smart phone, tablet, etc. that has an Internet connection. This simplicity allows instructors to present game-like multiple-choice answer quizzes tailored for audiences of all ages and subject matters. Instructors and others in the class/group can create their own quizzes or find, use, and/or remix public quizzes. Kahoot allows questions and polls to contain images and video but the default setting displays colors, symbols, and suspenseful music similar to the game show Jeopardy, all of which creates a high energy, game-like atmosphere. When class participants see the wrong answers flashed upon the screen, groans quickly follows along with cheers and high-fives when participants learn they were correct in answering a question. Liveliness in the game or quiz escalates as updated rankings appear on the central scoreboard after each question while a participant receives personalized feedback on their own device. Playing a game of Kahoot does not require an account, only a game PIN from the quiz moderator and a name, which could be a pseudonym.
While not a Web 2.0 game changer in the same vein as presented by O’Reilly (2005) and Wesch (2007), I think Kahoot is a prime example of a participatory tool that is a simple way for people to connect and interact with each other in a not only a classroom situation but also in an organizational leadership setting. While I have not done so yet, I have been waiting for our next office training session to use Kahoot as a means to gauge my team members’ knowledge on such subjects as equal opportunity protections, sexual harassment law/regulations, and contracting so we can address the areas in which they are lacking information. I believe this use of Kahoot to establish the base lines would encourage discussion during our training sessions and be an example of the kind of person-to-person collaboration highlighted by Clay Shirky in his interview by Michael Chui (2014). Rather than hosting training sessions with the usual lecturer standing in front of a group of dull eyed attendees, using Kahoot could at least be used as a conversation starter and serve as a segue for the instructor to focus on areas identified as weak during the quizzes. Overall, I think Kahoot can serve as an effective tool to gauge knowledge and encourage collaboration in a classroom setting or other learning environment. Ben
Chui, M. (Interviewer) & Shirky, C. (Interviewee). (2014). The Disruptive Power of Collaboration: An Interview With Clay Shirky [Interview transcript]. Retrieved from McKinsey and Company website: http://www.mckinsey.com/industries/high-tech/our-insights/the-disruptive-power-of-collaboration-an-interview-with-clay-shirky
O’Reilly, T. (2005, September 30). What is web 2.0: Design patterns and business models for the next generation of software. Retrieved from http://www.oreilly.com/pub/a//web2/archive/what-is-web-20.html
Wesch, M. (2007, March 7). The machine is us/ing us (final version). Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NLlGopyXT_g&feature=youtu.be