Teacher uses Kahoot! to enhance instruction

Math game he created is spreading across the country.

Springboro High School teacher Nathaniel Heading created a math game that is being used by thousands of students across the country.

Using the free game-based learning platform Kahoot!, Heading created an instructional tool to help asses his students’ understanding of operations with complex numbers. Kahoot! featured his game last month and made it available to the public. It has been played by more than 4,600 students nationally.

“I started using Kahoot!, because I wanted a fun and engaging method for assessing my students understanding of the content. After using Kahoot! once, I was hooked,” Heading said. “My students loved the aspect that they could compete with their classmates, and I loved that the whole class was engaged and learning. Kahoot! also tracks each student’s individual responses and creates a spreadsheet for me, so I can easily see who needs remediation or reteaching.”

Teachers create learning games — known has kahoots — made from a series of multiple choice questions and can include videos, images and diagrams. Players answer on their own devices, while games are displayed on a shared screen.

“It is like a trivia game. It displays a question with four possible answers, and the students choose what they think is correct. A teacher can customize the kahoot to fit his or her needs,” Heading explained.

Other Springboro teachers use Kahoot! to enhance instruction in elementary math and junior high social studies and English.

“This program is growing in popularity in our schools through word of mouth; the students are talking about it, which in turn excites teachers to try something new,” said district educational technologist Amy Romes. Kahoot! “provides a fun and modern way for students to review various skills. Students love technology and can access this at school and home on all devices. We have used this for vocabulary concepts, social studies review games and math practice review. Kahoot! allows teachers to build their own kahoots or use pre-made ones that teachers around the globe have created. This allows teachers to share ideas and collaborate with one another.”

Heading said using the platform has created enthusiasm for learning.

“Kahoot! helps me to turn math into a game, and making math a game has huge benefits, because a student is more likely to try to win a game than they are to try and get every answer right on their homework. Students see a social benefit in winning a game as compared to other activities in class,” he said.

Students agree.

“It is a more fun way to review for a test. Kahoot! is not just giving you a question and you answering it, it adds a fun game element to it,” said SHS senior Chloe Ittel.

“Sometimes it is hard to review in a large group, but this makes it easier. The time limit makes you want to challenge yourself more to know the information off the top of your head,” said senior Emily Knoth.

Heading said using Kahoot! is just one way teachers can assess their students’ mastery of skills.

“Some people think that the only way to measure a student’s understanding is a test or quiz, but good teaching requires constant measuring that takes many forms,” he said. “Informal conversations, homework or Kahoot! can all be used to assess a student’s understanding of the content. Kahoot! is an easy way for me to engage my students and see what they know, and I can then change my teaching to fit my students’ needs.”

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Contact this contributing writer at lisa.knodel@gmail.com.

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