Can university students, schoolchildren and employees play their way to knowledge? Can computerised games help to reverse worrisome school drop-out rates? Yes, say the researchers behind the Norwegian-developed Kahoot! learning platform.
School drop-out remains an enormous problem in many countries. While educational institutions show great enthusiasm for the use of digital solutions to enhance learning conditions as well as student well-being, in practice it often proves difficult for them to implement new technology or capitalise on schoolgoers' own IT skills in the learning environment.
Learning from active quizzes
"Kids in today's classroom have their individual smart phones, tablets or laptops. Our plan is to get pupils more involved by letting them cooperate or compete via these devices," says Åsmund Furuseth, CEO of Mobitroll, the company behind the Kahoot! learning platform.
The fundamental idea behind Kahoot! is to use knowledge play to reinforce learning. The service can be used in a number of ways: in the final five minutes of a lesson, for instance, the teacher can conduct a quick quiz competition on the current topic. Everyone plays at once, and results are displayed on a large screen at the front of the classroom, so the outcome is immediately clear.
"We can involve the whole class at once," explains Mr Furuseth. "The teacher draws on the kids' competitive drive and obtains immediate feedback on what they've retained from the lesson."
Bill Gates mentioned Kahoot! as an exciting opportunity for schools in his keynote speech at the South By Southwest Edu (SXSWedu) conference in Austin, Texas, in March 2013. SXSWedu is the world's most influential conference for commercial education technology, research on new education-oriented technology and improved learning methods. Mobitroll's management is very pleased about the attention their concept has garnered.
Based on university research
Mobitroll is owned by NTNU Technology Transfer (a technology transfer office affiliated with the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)), the British-Norwegian company We Are Human, and developer Morten Versvik. The service is based on research carried out by Professor Alf Inge Wang and his colleagues at NTNU.
The technology platform itself is based on the research conducted by Morten Versvik for his Master's degree at NTNU. It is this technology that enables multiple persons – each with their own smart phone, tablet or laptop – to play together simultaneously on a single large screen.
The success of the concept requires a quick and easy means of connecting all the devices. One important element of the Kahoot! service is that pupils and their teachers are using learning tools they have already mastered.
Appropriate for many age groups
The service is now being tested by teachers and pupils at schools in the UK and USA, as well as being used actively by students and instructors at NTNU.
Although Kahoot! has been developed for the education sector, the concept may be easily adapted for use within trade and industry.To this end, Mobitroll has entered into a cooperation with IKEA, which is using Kahoot! in its internal employee training courses in Trondheim, Norway. Feedback from this application has been very positive as well.
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