Games of any kind–encourage practice, competition, self-direction, scaffolding, collaboration, trial-and-error persistence, patience, strategic thinking, self-efficacy (for some), and a variety of other important possibilities.
his past year, I had to provide a professional development session for teachers that demonstrated the use of apps -a hands-on activity-in the classroom to motivate students. Our school's Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy meant that whatever app I wanted to use needed to work on all mobile platforms.
After some research, I came upon the Kahoot! app, a digital tool that can be used for any subject area. Kahoot! is a free interactive quiz/poll/survey program that lets teachers design an activity that uses game graphics with feedback to promote learning.
In several minutes, teachers were excited to play a quiz on technology use in schools based on facts from The Growing Wireless site. The short multiple choice quiz I created using the Kahoot! app is available here: Technology in the Classroom.
All teachers were engaged and motivated to win. They immediately wanted to try to use the software in their classrooms.
The Kahoot! website explains that their software allows educators the opportunity to:
"Create a fun learning game in minutes (called ‘kahoots’), made from a series of multiple choice questions."
Once a game is made, it can be individualized with videos and images. The website for Kahoot! explains that:
"Players answer on their own devices, while games are displayed on a shared screen to unite the lesson – creating a ‘campfire moment’ – encouraging players to look up."
When I used the Kahoot! app with teachers, they enrolled by phone for the quiz and began entering responses on their cell phones or tablets. Their enthusiasm for the activity proved how motivating the digital tool could be. In less than 20 minutes, I had covered the material I wanted teachers to know and I had taught them how to use the app in a classroom.
A number of teachers suggested they could use the Kahoot! app for pre-testing or post-testing assessments.
Using Kahoot! Software in Class
Choosing to use Kahoot! with teachers for professional development demonstrated how easy and engaging Kahoot! could be, and many teachers opened accounts to use with their students.
Digital apps like Kahoot! are kind of technology that what David Lassner, President of the University of Hawaii and informational technology expert, meant when he said,
"The real power of interactive technologies is that they let us learn in ways that aren’t otherwise possible or practical."
Kahoot! makes learning both practical....and possible.
Teachers are finding it harder and harder to ignore the ever changing technology that is swooping in and consuming their students. Instead of ignoring it, they are choosing to embrace it. For students, technology is a part of their daily lives. Social networking, smartphones, and the internet is ingrained into their daily lives, and this is just the beginning. With technology growing at a rapid pace it doesn't look like it is going away anytime in the near future. A growing concern with teachers is that these devices are a distraction to students. But, what some view as a distraction, can actually be turned into an opportunity. We can find a way to embrace technology and use it to our advantage.
Here are 5 ways teachers can embrace technology and stay relevant in the world of their digitized students.
There are millions of apps that can help us engage students, and keep them interested in topics that they would have never been interested in if they were reading about them in a textbook. With today’s technology teachers have an advantage in keeping their students engaged like never before. If utilized properly, we will see the amazing results in the very near future.
5. Preparing for a 21st Century Workforce
The reality that teachers face in preparing their students to enter the workforce centers on technology. This means steering away from the traditional model of teaching, and utilizing the technology that exists today. In order for our students to succeed in today’s world, it essential that we prepare them with the skills and tools that they need to live in the digital age.