Kahoot! has spread through the district like a wildfire, delighting teachers and engaging students. The mention of the program brings a smile to the faces of the knowing, and those faces are growing in number every day. So it should come as no surprise that Sylvania administrators are jumping on the bandwagon. In fact, at Northview High School on January 20th, Assistant Director of Teaching and Learning Julie Sanford not only joined the Kahoot crowd, but demonstrated a cool new twist in usage.
Julie was tasked with a presentation in front of Northview’s sophomore class with the goal of stimulating their thinking on careers. While career tech teachers were handling a career expo in the auxiliary gym next door, and upperclassmen were leading engaging tours of classrooms, Julie drew the short straw, the lecture-style PowerPoint presentation in the gym. Not being satisfied with speaking at her young audience, Julie decided to use Kahoot to frame her delivery.
Many teachers use Kahoot as a review game, and its application for this purpose seems self-evident. Julie, however, used the online game as a lecture framework. On the portable screen in the gym, she posted the Kahoot PIN and directed students in logging in through their smartphones. Once they were in (and Julie had expelled the inappropriate names) the game provided the presentation. Question #1, “What is the best paying job of 2015?” engaged students with thoughts about the earning power of different careers, and that engagement created a perfect opening for Julie to discuss earning potential. This move of engaging question to direct presentation point continued to question #7, “Psychologist, Speech Therapist, Teacher, & Nail Technician make up what best category?” All the while, the students’ attention was caught and Julie capitalized on that capture to help them reflect on career opportunities.
Following the game, winning students walked out of the stands for gift cards or flashlights, smiling all the while. None of them noticed how quickly the time flew by. None of them noticed that they had just experienced a lecture.
Teachers search for opportunities to stimulate students during direct instruction, but Julie’s presentation demonstrated that a simple and replicable practice is ready for any teacher during any lesson. The game question introduces content in an undeniably engaging manner, opening the student for reception of that content. Some refer to this process as gamification, and it is a best practice worth noting and learning.
Check out these links and/or contact Julie at jsanford@sylvaniaschools for more information.