Creating Kahoot! Games

Richard Byrne (Free Technology for Teachers) has put together a quick and helpful video on creating a Kahoot! quiz. (The only thing I would add is to remember to save your work after making each new question.)

More of Byrne’s video tutorials can be found on his YouTube channel.


Using mobile devices for warmers, fillers and coolers

An essential part of what I do is finding ways to incorporate e-learning and m-learning into the main syllabus, but Peter Pun’s (ELT Planning) post on breaktime games using an interactive whiteboard has got me thinking about how mobile devices can also play a role in the warmer, filler and cooler stages of a lesson.

These “breaktime” stages are helpful not only for re-energising students or revivifying a flagging lesson, or as simple punctuation points between lessons; they also link back to previous input (e.g. by recycling vocabulary) or forward to out-of-class study. Online ELT games can be a useful vehicle for self-directed study, and you could help familiarise students with this by having them try out these games in class on their mobile devices. I like Macmillan Dictionaries’ suite of language games; see Pun’s post and comments for more games to try out.

Irregular Verb Wheel Game

Macmillan Dictionaries’ Irregular Verb Wheel Game

A note of caution: you’d want to make sure you choose games that function just as well on mobile platforms as on desktop. (I found this out the hard way when I tried using a game I’d created in Classtools.)

An alternative to Kahoot!: Quizziz

Tony Vincent (Learning in Hand) compares Kahoot! with other classroom quiz games, with a particular focus on Quizziz.

Kahoot Logo

Kahoot! (which I use on a weekly basis) allows students to participate in an online multiple-choice quiz using a mobile device. The teacher projects the questions and options, and the students play by pressing the button on their device screen that corresponds with their chosen answer. After a time limit is reached or all participants have selected their answers, the correct answer is shown and the class moves on to the next question.

Quizziz (which I’ve never used before) appears to be similar in most respects, but the main difference is that participants can see the questions and answer choices on their mobile devices, and they don’t have to wait for their classmates before proceeding to the next question.

Despite being very similar applications, Vincent maintains that they can both play a role in your classroom. Whereas Kahoot! is a great tool for unit review (not to suggest that it doesn’t have other uses), because everybody moves at the same pace and there are opportunities for the teacher to explain or clarify between each question, the self-paced nature of Quizziz allows it to be used for homework/flipped-classroom activities. Nonetheless, students don’t always appreciate such nuances, so you’d have to be very careful about when to incorporate Kahoot! and Quizziz activities into your programme if you’re going to use both.

I’ve developed several “rules of thumb” for using Kahoot! in the ELT classroom, and I imagine most of them would apply to Quizziz:

  1. 25 questions max. Any more than this, and students start to become bored, drift off, complain about their time being wasted, and so on.
  2. Use “Team Mode” in larger classes. Kahoot! displays a running leaderboard that only includes the top 5 or 6 players; this can be demotivating for those not performing as well.
  3. Design your multiple choice options to target common errors. You can then discuss these with the class and get them to show their understanding of the language point by explaining why certain answers are incorrect.
  4. Ensure your students are clear on the aim of the activity. What makes it a language activity as opposed to a simple game? How is it helping them develop their language skills?
  5. Play it on a scheduled day of the week, at a scheduled time–and no more than once a week. Variety being the spice of life &c.


“Whenever our students get bored, their creativity levels go through the roof, and they come up with a million creative uses for their pens, pencils, books, classmates, the floor and the ceiling in the classroom.” Or they reach for their phones . . .



Recent research suggests that boredom might have many benefits, including increased creativity. A researcher from the University of Central Lancashire carried out the following experiment. She split students into two groups and had one group carry out a humdrum task of copying phone numbers from a phone book and then asked both groups to come up with as many creative uses for two plastic cups as possible…Do you have any doubts as to who got their creative juices flowing at the speed of light?

What the researcher calls an ‘experiment’ is everyday classroom experience for many teachers. Whenever our students get bored, their creativity levels go through the roof, and they come up with a million creative uses for their pens, pencils, books, classmates, the floor and the ceiling in the classroom. However, we’d never plan a boring task. Never. It’s the topic, which is boring.

Asserting that we have…

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Google Cardboard: the dawn of VR in ELT

Google Cardboard
“Google Cardboard” by othree available at Full terms at
I was recently given a Google Cardboard viewer and finally got around to trying it out today. The basic idea is that once you download the Cardboard app onto your smartphone, you insert the phone into the rear of the cardboard device pictured above and you have yourself an inexpensive VR device. The app then links you to the 360° YouTube channel containing dozens of immersive videos.

The verdict? Amazing! . . . although it does take your eyes a few moments to adjust to the binary images in order to resolve them into the one image (a bit like a Magic Eye painting).

British Council has a post outlining a number of suggestions on how the viewer can be used as a supplementary resource in the EFL classroom (assuming you can get a class set: the viewers retail for about $15). Cambridge English is trialing the technology as a means of alleviating candidates’ anxieties about the day of the exam. Once 360° cameras become more affordable and widespread, I can see schools and universities using VR for virtual campus tours and course inductions.