A Guide to Quizlet and Kahoot for English Language Teaching

Welcome to this guide to Quizlet and Kahoot.

Please don’t treat it like a book, jump around, follow the links, use the sidebar over there to your left, scroll up and down until something catches your eye. Feel free to start at the end and end at the beginning.

Warning! This guide is not  really for computer novices, I will not be holding your hand through the basics of computing, I will assume you know how to turn on a PC, laptop, smartphone or tablet; use Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge, Chrome, Firefox, Safari or other browsers, save images, cut and paste text and images, download an app and other basic PC or smartphone tasks.

However I will try to be as detailed as possible in introducing Quizlet and Kahoot and  will use clear diagrams to show you how to set up the two tools.
For those of you who describe yourselves as “old-fashioned” or “traditional” teachers, this is probably not for you, but it might be for your students. Good luck and here’s a link to some interesting ELT whiteboards and tips for effective whiteboard use.

This is not intended to mean that teaching with technology is the gold standard and of course in the majority of global settings it is the exception and not the norm. I’m also not proposing that this is something all teachers should do. But if you have access to the technology I’d suggest it’s worth a try, you never know you (and your learners) might like it and learn from it.
Maybe once upon a time people were talking about whether to use those exciting new tools the whiteboard (and yes, not every teaching setting even has this) and dry wipe marker – but it’s my belief that whatever you use, you should consider why you are using it and what’s the impact of using it.

 
If you’re still with me, and I sincerely hope you are, what follows is an EFL/ESL/ESOL teacher’s guide to two web-based “tools”. I’ve put tools in inverted commas because this matters to some people, but I call them “tools” because in my opinion that’s what they are – something which learners can use to learn and which teachers can use to help learners learn.

 

I’ll introduce you to some background issues concerning teaching with EdTech, discuss how to use the two tools and then take you through some specific teaching scenarios, covering grammar, lexis, communicative teaching and other areas which I hope will be of interest to most teachers and learners of English.
Along the way I’ll give you a chance to read about the theories and research which support the use of these tools in language learning. But that’s optional, so let’s get down to basics – what are they, how do you use them, and how can they be best used in teaching English as Foreign or Second Language.

 
What is “EdTech”?

Educational Technology can be very simply defined as any technology that supports education. I think it’s a useful umbrella term for both tools.

First – a disclaimer – I like Edtech, I like most forms of technology ( except Twitter and I’m rapidly beginning to dislike Facebook too) and think they have an undisputed place in learning English, so I will make no pretence of objectivity.

So if you feel differently, try to suspend your disbelief (if only temporarily) close your eyes, click your heels and say “There’s no tech like Edtech” three times and let’s begin…

The first why
Why not put learning in a place where many modern students rarely leave – the always on, always connected world of that mobile phone which rarely leaves their hand. At least while they’re playing Kahoot, they won’t be using their phone to text,  Whatsapp, Snapchat, check Instagram, or take pictures of other learners (yes, this did happen!) under the pretence of looking up an unknown word.

The second why

Why not make your classroom more visual, a little more varied, and a bit more interactive. You may already feel this is true of your classroom and I’m not saying Quizlet or Kahoot are magical solutions, but from personal experience they do things in a different and sometimes better and sometimes more interesting way. They are no substitute for good teaching but are great supporting resources for good teaching.

The third why

Why not make your life a bit easier?  If you teach the same topics regularly, creating a Quizlet or Kahoot set will mean you never have to make additional supporting resources again. Realised you have some time to fill at the end of a lesson? Choose an appropriate Quizlet or Kahoot set. You have hundreds to choose from and they are all free.

The fourth and final why

Why not support your learners in learning beyond the classroom (LBC) by offering them learning they can easily do on their phones in a format they are more likely to find attractive than homework sheets or wordlists. There’s a quite interesting video here,

If you’d like something to read , here’s a pdf version of some slides exploring LBC in more depth and blog post here summarising two key books on the topic.

Since Kahoot and Quizlet are tools which can take advantage of audio and visuals you might expect me to make a reference to visual and auditory learning styles. I might have done a year or so ago but I’ve been surprised to learn they have no impact in relation to how we learn and how we teach. There’s a TED talk about it here. Carol Lethaby and Patricia Harries go into more detail about the research in relation to language teaching and learning here. There’s a shorter article in relation to the meshing hypothesis in differentiation here.

ADAPTIVE LEARNING IN ELT : Learning styles – the emperor with no clothes

 

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