I know which I prefer. In fact I’ve always been unapologetic about my preference. If I ever stumble across a colleague using what I considered the inferior resource I immediately want to shake them vigorously and ask “why are you using that!?”. However, a recent Twitter exchange, which involved the CEO of Kahoot, made me question my choice. Until that point I had always thought that one of these two frequently used online resources was just fundamentally better than the other. How did I know? Experience. Having used both resources for my lessons it was, to me, obvious that one was fun but lacking educational value. Whereas the other was more suited to classroom learning and superior at improving my students knowledge of a particular topic.
It all started with a fairly innocuous looking tweet from Dr Alec Couros, a professor of educational technology and media at the Faculty of Education, University of Regina. He wanted to know, from his Twitter followers, which resource they preferred and why. Here is the start of the exchange:
@courosa Kahoot about speed; little learning. Socrative is collaborative, data rich & paced by teacher/student/activity; learning aplenty
— Stephen Wiles (@musictheoryguy) March 27, 2015
As someone who often struggles to squeeze their tweet into 140 characters, I was rather pleased with my response to Dr Couros as I had, unusually, made made my thoughts quite clear, if not a little bluntly: Socrative is good, whereas Kahoot is rather gimmicky. My response was primarily based on the chaotic nature of Kahoot when it is being used. I’ve always found that it encourages students to respond with speed rather than carefully checking through their answers or taking time to think about the questions being posed. There is also little, if any, post-Kahoot data that can be mined by a teacher unlike Socrative where it is possible to determine answers from each individual student and even give them a PDF of the quiz, their responses and the correct answers. Why would you wish to use Kahoot when Socrative just offers so much more? At the time of writing my tweet, I could only think of three reasons:
- Kahoot plays tension-esque music, automatically, when questions are being asked. OK, this repetitive soundtrack gets rather boring and irritating after the 3rd playing but it’s better than nothing.
- You can embed YouTube videos (to play from a specific point) into a question. This, for me as a music teacher, is super helpful.
- Kahoot looks much more fun and appealing to use. The dark background and formal layout of Socrative is quite a visual turn-off. (Stop Press – the April 2015 update has made Socrative much more student friendly)
Dr Couros had lots of responses to his query but it was the CEO of Kahoot that responded to me:
— Johan Brand (@johanbrand) April 1, 2015
Hat off to Johan for contacting me and providing his thoughts. He does actually make a good point, Kahoot can indeed be considered formative. Perhaps I’ve just been too excited by the post-quiz data that Socrative has to offer. Maybe I’ve been too obsessed by ‘being in control’ as I can use Socrative to pace my lessons. I had even overlooked the fact that the act and art of creating a question is often just as valuable as participating in a Kahoot quiz. I had always run and created the quizzes myself rather than allowing the students to run and create their own to share their learning and/or knowledge. All teachers strive to move away from the archaic style of didactic teaching so perhaps Kahoot is ideal to use as a mid-class breather, an end of lesson plenary, a piece of homework or, dare I even say it, just for fun.
It’s worth noting that I teach students aged 11-18 and perhaps this age group are less receptive to Kahoot than younger students? I also teach in a school where although the community is co-ed, lessons are taught single sex. Whenever I’ve run Kahoot with boys it turns into a shouting match where the speediest and most accurate finger wins. Girls classes, conversely, seem not bothered by the competitive nature of it all. Socrative has always been the winner, in my classes, as it appeals to everyone. Perhaps though I’ve not given Kahoot the credit it deserves. Speaking to my colleagues and reading the other respondents to Dr Corous’ initial tweet it’s clear that Kahoot is used globally and successfully by many teachers.
I’m not yet convinced that Kahoot is as good as Socrative but I do feel differently about it. With so many fans of Kahoot it is clear that my previous irrational response to it is both unreasonable and incorrect. I’ll give it another go in my classes and perhaps, one day, I will speak as highly about it as I currently do about Socrative. I’ll keep this blog posted.
Do you use Socrative or Kahoot? What are your experiences? Do you have a preference of one over another? Do share your thoughts below.