So you are a year into your 1:1 initiative, and just having a device is no longer enough to keep your students motivated. The textbook was boring, while the laptop was instant engagement. When the honeymoon period with the device is over, what do you do? Kahoot is no longer exciting because every teacher in the building uses it. With the institution of the SAMR model, you are finding that your old webquests are nothing more than a ‘substitution’ for the old school method of having students answer the section review after reading some pages in the textbook. Teaching with technology, which seemed to refresh and energize your classroom is suddenly becoming more difficult. How do you adjust?
In a word, learn. The great thing about technology and technology resources is that they are always changing. Every day there are new features being added to our favorite educational technology sites, as well as new sites hitting the old fashion web. The lifelong commitment to learning is such a fundamental important attribute that we hope to instill in our students. What better way to ensure that takes place than to model that behavior by continuing to challenge yourself to learn more every day?
As I mentioned earlier, Kahoot is so extremely popular. It’s really exciting, and kids love it. Too much of anything can make even the best things go sour. My kids love chocolate, and by noon on Easter they are done eating their candy! Ha.. Yeah right. Lucky for them, I instill the parent tax and take my portion of candy so they don’t make their love of chocolate go to spoils! You get the idea, and that’s why websites such as Quizizz are an awesome alternative. Quizizz in my opinion is not quite as classroom friendly as Kahoot, but it’s an amazing alternative because it is still engaging and it is different. There’s a new player to the classroom gamification realm though, and quite frankly it surprised me.
Quizlet Live is a unique collaborative game that is incredibly engaging, and yet completely unlike Kahoot and Quizizz. Students are grouped by Quizlet live into teams, and given random definitions from a flashcard study set chosen by the teacher. Teams must race to match up their cards until they get to 12 points. If they make a mistake, they start back at zero. Upon completion of a game, the teacher, with the click of a button, can start a new session with new teams and new cards. It gives a completely unique player experience each time the game is played. Students may ask to play Kahoot again, and you’re just replaying the last 10 minutes of your class. Quizlet Live gives more meaning and potential for learning with each replay compared to Kahoot and Quizizz.
This blog post may sound as if I’m dogging Kahoot, and I’m not trying to. I absolutely love Kahoot, and would recommend it to any teacher without question. I just believe it is over used, but it can be used more creatively to make students excited, and to get past “the new normal” mentioned at the beginning of this post. For example, with “Ghost Mode” students can play a standard Kahoot, and the teacher can hit the ghost mode button. If the teacher copies the Ghost mode link, the teacher can email that link to other classes in the building or all over the world. Find another class on twitter to challenge to a Kahoot battle. Use Ghost mode to challenge parents. Speaking of modes, this week Kahoot launched Team mode which allows for students on a shared device to participate in a Kahoot game. There are applications of team mode that would make for a unique learning experience and would help teachers getting past when “technology becomes the new normal.”
It is an incredible time to be a student, and I’m excited for all of the tools my chocolate-loving children will get to use to facilitate their learning. Will they pilot drones to make math formulas come to life? Probably. Will they program robots to aid in the writing process? Absolutely. What will we do when this is the new normal? One thing is certain, and that is that technology will continue to change and improve. As a teacher, will you challenge yourself to do the same? Will you vow to not let your device become the “new normal.”