Kahoot!

This fun game-based learning platform is simply the most popular app I have ever used in the classroom.

Kahoot! is actually very similar to another of my favourites, Socrative. The teacher (or students) creates a multiple-choice quiz using the web interface which students then access using their tablet, laptop or smartphone. There are also thousands of ready-made public Kahoots that you can use.

However, unlike Socrative, the questions are only displayed via the teacher’s device and the students answer by selecting one or more of four coloured buttons that appear on their own screens (see below). A time limit, a leadership board and the fact that students can get more points by answering quickly adds a competitive element which the students adore.

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Kahoot! can also be used as an interface for class surveys and I have recently started using it to display hingepoint questions during lessons as a means of formative assessment. It is completely free and although registration is required to create quizzes, students are not expected to login to play (they simply tap in a pin number displayed by the teacher). I highly recommend it.

 

Google Forms for Flipped Learning

I am a big fan of Google Classroom and although I am not completely paperless quite yet, I am increasingly using Google Docs in class and when setting assignments for homework.

I think one of my greatest discoveries when completing the Google Certified Educator courses (available here and highly recommended) was the fact that you can embed YouTube videos directly into a Google Form then share it with your students as a flipped learning activity. There are a variety of different question types available including text and multiple choice as well as more advanced options such as scales for ordering or sequencing.

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The students’ responses are automatically collated in a Google Sheet document allowing you to add comments, apply conditional formatting or review their learning before the lesson.

Keeping it Simple

I often find that really simple visual aids are all that are needed to make otherwise quite complex concepts spring to life in the students’ minds. For example, a balloon inside a cardboard box to represent the protoplast inside the cell wall of a plant cell (particularly useful when teaching plasmolysis), pipe cleaners as polysaccharide chains or for demonstrating protein structure, and drawing pins stuck in ping-pong balls as viruses or cell-surface antigens.