The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

Kahoot: Helping or Hindering?


Kahoot is a widely used tool, but how helpful is it really?

What is Kahoot?

Kahoot is an online tool which conducts interactive quizzes to test knowledge on almost any subject. Kahoot was founded on March 13, 2013 by a group from the Norwegian University of Tech and Science. Kahoot has been growing in size since then and on October 11, 2018, it was valued at $300 million. TechCrunch reports that about 30 million users out of it’s 60 million are in the United States, from kindergarten to 12th grade classrooms.

Students’ opinions on which grades it should be used in, however, can differ.

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“I think in high school it’s too immature, or too much for little kids, but in middle school, they use it as a valid way of learning,” said by Ana Diaz-Young, a ninth-grade student at WIS.

Pros and Cons

While most students enjoy using Kahoot, there are some disadvantages to using it in class.  Students can get overly excited and rowdy when playing which causes problems. To explore disadvantages in terms of education in addition to behavior, we sent out a survey to all of the  Upper School Staff.

Photo by Emily Muenzer

When asked his opinion on Kahoot, Gary Piligian, a high school math teacher, responded, “Like many of these tools, sometimes the novelty wears off and students don’t take it seriously – as in, they race to respond ASAP without even trying to work out the problem, because they are trying to win first place rather than use the Kahoot as a chance to learn.”

Even though Kahoot has some disadvantages in a class setting, there are also many advantages to using Kahoot, including the students’ attitude towards it.

Students enjoy Kahoot because it provides a fun, friendly competition and is interactive. Sara Auer, a ninth grade student, displayed an opinion reflected by many other WIS high school students.

“The competition with your friends really motivates you to learn about it and really know the material so you can be ready for exams,” Auer said.

This sentiment is also shared with some teachers, who think Kahoot is a good way for students to review material in a quick and competitive manner. “Students, universally, seem to love Kahoot. They want to do it, they enjoy playing Kahoot […] they are excited,” Alexandra Wilding said, the Middle and Upper School journalism and digital arts teacher at WIS.

Photo by Emily Muenzer

Hongli Holloman, a Middle School and Upper School Chinese and Global Health teacher also enjoys using Kahoot in her classroom for different purposes and notices her students enjoy it too.  “I like to review and it’s usually very engaging for the students […] you can add Youtube, so you can have sound; it’s multimedia. It’s multi-sensory. ”

But, Holloman also recognizes the downsides of Kahoot. She says it’s “tiresome” to make the Kahoot and input all the data. “When you need to make your own, it’s a lot of work. You have to enter everything from scratch. I think now they have come up with [a] spreadsheet, I have not tried that yet.”

Other tools

There are other tools that can be used in the classroom for studying and reviewing material. Some of those tools include Quizlet and Peardeck. Quizlet is an online tool which creates flashcards and quizzes the student in many different ways to help them study for a test at home or at school. Peardeck is a tool which is normally used in class, similar to Kahoot, however, the students can type, draw or pick their answers and it is not timed. These tools are different from Kahoot because students can think through their answers, and the tools are not as focused on how much time it takes you to reach an answer.

Photo by Emily Muenzer

Teachers like using Kahoot for many different reasons. “Some teachers like it as a way to engage their class. […] If you want to teach material, it’s not a good idea to use Kahoot,” Tatham said.

This sentiment is also shared with Wilding. When asked about what she disliked about Kahoot, she responded by saying “I think that stuff that I dislike about it is that it really rewards speed, as opposed to in-depth thought and reflection. It’s more just about how fast can you answer something.”

Where do the Kahoot quizzes come from?

Teachers have many different ways of finding different Kahoot quizzes to use in class. Some have their students come up with the questions, other teachers make the questions themselves and some use quizzes that someone else has made. Some students prefer when their teachers make the Kahoot themselves for one main reason.

Photo by Emily Muenzer

“Sometimes it would be my teacher [who makes the Kahoot,] but usually, we would find one in the search bar and we would get a premade one from another teacher, but those wouldn’t be as good because they […] would be wrong,” Auer said.

Teachers use Kahoot as a way for students to have a fun way to review information for a class.

Holloman says she thinks it is an important tool to use in class. “I always search other ways to engage students, so it’s one of the things, with the technology, and it somehow works for students. So I think it’s important, but it’s not like I have to have it all the time, but it’s great to have it once in a while, yes.”

Wilding says that Kahoot is essentially a game, but it is important to have game elements in a class to make it more enjoyable.

By Emily Muenzer and Sophie Racine

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