The best features of game shows can be used to review and teach in the classroom. These four digital tools can help. See their pros, cons and what makes them different. (Original image by Kevin Standlee / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0)
As a child, I remember one specific thing I always looked forward to on days when I stayed home sick from school.
The Price Is Right.
I may have been aching, sick to my stomach or feverish, but as I laid on the couch, I made sure the TV was tuned to that game show around lunch time.
I loved the unique games. (I always dreamed of playing Plinko!) I always guessed right along with the contestants during the Showcase Showdown at the end of the game. Bob Barker was the consummate host and kept things moving.
Now, teachers can bring that experience into the classroom when students aren’t home sick.
Several digital tools created for the classroom bring those exciting experiences to students with learning as the focus.
Here are some of the ones I’ve found that I think are the best, along with pros, cons and what makes them different:
Kahoot! is the granddaddy of the game show review games. That’s a funny title for a site that was only launched in August of 2013 … a three-year-old (as of publication of this post) hardly counts as a granddaddy! That goes to show how fast technology is changing in classrooms.
Source: Screenshot from getkahoot.com
Pros: It’s a shared experience. Everyone sees the question on the projector at the same time and everyone answers at the same time. That by itself creates an electric environment. Also, there are millions (no exaggeration) of pre-created Kahoot! games under “Public Kahoot!s”. If you want to teach it, there’s likely a Kahoot! game already created by a teacher, student or someone else that you can use. Kahoot! also features a team mode for classes that don’t have devices for each student (or want a more group-based option).
Cons: Your score is based on your reaction time from seeing the question (often displayed on the projector screen) and answering on your device. If the device you’re answering on takes too long to load, you may know the answer but can’t answer it (often because of slow or overloaded Internet) and you’re left in the dust. Some teachers say they don’t like that you can’t see the answers on the device you use to answer (i.e. student laptop or tablet), but my students never complained about that.
What makes it different: Ghost mode. It makes the same game different the second time you play it. (Or third. Or fourth.) Kahoot! remembers how each student scored on each question, and when you play ghost mode, it displays former attempts as “ghosts”. Students can compare their current attempt to previous attempts to see how they’ve progressed. (If your students have played Mario Kart or another racing video game and have raced against their personal best, they’re familiar with racing against a ghost.)
Learn all about the Blind Kahoot! — a way to TEACH with Kahoot! instead of reviewing. Check out that post here!
Quizizz takes the excitement of a gameshow-style review game and puts the whole experience in the students’ hands. With Kahoot!, everyone sees the question and possible answers on the projector and answer simultaneously. Quizizz is different because the questions and possible answers are displayed individually on student devices.
Pros: Student-paced. No one gets upset because their device didn’t load the game fast enough to compete. Quizizz games can also be assigned as homework, extending its fun experience to out-of-class work. Teachers can display their screen on the projector to see progress of each student and instantly see how many questions the class answered right/wrong.
Source: Screenshot from Quizizz.com
Cons: Quizizz is definitely fun. But when everyone is answering different questions at different times, you lose a bit of the excitement. With Kahoot!, when my class answers one question all together, it isolates that piece of content so we can all talk about it. When a Quizizz game is over, you can review all the questions all at once, and you lose that isolation.
What makes it different: Memes. These pictures with fun/funny messages are a treat. They’re displayed after a question is answered to show whether it’s right or wrong. Quizizz even lets you create your own (see image at right). You can use their pre-loaded images or upload your own.
Quizlet Live (quizlet.com/live)
Quizlet’s foray into the game show-style review adds its own unique spin. Instead of students answering individual questions on their individual devices, Quizlet puts students in groups. All possible answers are divided amongst the devices of all students participating. Think of three students with 12 possible answers … they’re divided up with four on each devices, so the answer may or may not be on your device.
Source: Screenshot from Quizlet.com
Pros: Teamwork and communication. With traditional flashcards, students may study them in isolation quietly. This brings students together in a game where they must depend on each other. If you use Quizlet and already have flashcards, you don’t have to create anything new. The questions and possible answers are all pulled from your existing Quizlet study sets. That means that each new Quizlet Live game is different, with different possible questions and answers pulled from your existing sets.
Cons: You need at least six students to play a game (at least two teams of three students). If you’re looking for something more individual to play as a group, Quizlet Live may not be your game.
What makes it different: True team play. It’s a different model of review game when many of these game show-style games feel the same.
The gameplay experience in Quizalize isn’t what makes it stand out. Like the others, you can create questions and answers and deliver them to your class. Like the others, there are existing games you can search and use. (Quizalize uses a marketplace model where you can offer your Quizalize games to others for a fee a la Teachers Pay Teachers.) Quizalize stands out with the data that it offers on how students are doing.
Source: Screenshot from Quizalize.com
Pros: The interface is simple. Students get how to play it quickly and easily, and teachers can jump right in, too. The team game lets students work together and see their results in real time on the projector screen. When students are finished, Quizalize breaks the data on their work down in many ways (by question, by type of question, etc.) to provide great insights for the teacher.
Cons: It lacks some of the flash and fun of the other platforms. Quizalize hasn’t been around as long, so the database of pre-built Quizalize games won’t be as deep and robust. The option to offer your Quizalize games for a fee to others isn’t ideal to cash-strapped teachers.
What makes it different: Data on student performance. Quizalize really excels here. You can create tags for questions (i.e. subtopics to distinguish questions from each other) and sort student results by subtopic. You can also see which subtopics and questions were hardest for students. Student results can also be sorted by “stronger,” “almost there” and “weaker”. If you want to use a game show-style game to generate student performance data and offer extra help to struggling students, Quizalize is the choice for you.
These four — Kahoot!, Quizizz, Quizlet Live and Quizalize — aren’t the only options for reviewing in this way. If you use others, we’d love to see them in a comment below along with why you think they’re great.
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Nearpod allows you to launch lessons in two modes: Live Lesson or Student-paced.
- Live Lesson connects students with the teacher's device and creates an engaging learning experience. You will have access to a Teacher Dashboard where you will see which students have joined the lesson, what they reply to each interactive activity and you will be able to push the correct results of quizzes to their devices.
- Student-paced mode is self-paced and independent. The teacher receives all formative assessment data from each student in a Nearpod Report. Students can join a lesson anytime, from anywhere. To find out how to enable student feedback for student-paced session click here.
- Both modes generate a code for students to enter a Nearpod lesson
- Live Lesson CODES last for 15 days.
- Student-paced CODES last for 30 days since the last join.