Sunday, May 21, 2017


I realize that almost everyone has heard of Kahoot by now, but I just realized that I never did a blog post on one of my new favorite technologies.  A few years ago I posted about Poll Everywhere, a polling site that lets you create polls for students to answer.  Kahoot is similar, but in a more game-like format (it includes game show-type music and keeps score).

It's a great tool to do comprehension checks, especially for more complicated topics.  I created a Kahoot for preterit and imperfect in Spanish, focusing on interpreting whether an action had been completed or not (based on a grammaticality judgment task I took as a grad student way back in the day).  For example:

Anoche leía una novela.

Then students decide:
A. I finished the novel.
B. We don't know if I finished the novel or not.

(You could also add "C. I didn't finish the novel." to make it more interesting. For the curious, the answer is B;  the use of the imperfect indicates that the action was in the past, but leaves the finality open-ended.  In other words, when the imperfect is used, we don't know if the action/event was completed or not.)

Kahoots also are great for doing exam reviews, but I wanted my students to be able to use them on their own if they wanted, and not just during class.  It's designed for use in a classroom, with the questions & answers projected on a screen and students responding from their devices, but they can use it individually with a few modifications.  They have to create an account in Kahoot, and then they can access your activity in preview mode.  One thing to note about preview mode is that it will not show up as an option if your browser window is too small, so if you're looking for it and it's not there, make your browser window bigger.  I give students my Kahoot user name so they can look for my materials, and make sure to title them something obvious like "SPAN 1110 Exam 1 review."

In case it's helpful, I made a video for my students showing them how they can use Kahoots in preview mode for individual review.

Friday, May 19, 2017

EdPuzzle: Saludos

I'm teaching 100% online for the first time this summer, so I'm starting to create materials for my courses.  I decided I want to do short video lessons, but I also wanted to integrate an interactive element since just watching/listening to a video isn't very engaging and won't help learners process the language.

After a little looking around, I decided to use EdPuzzle, which allows me to take existing videos from a number of sources and add my own interactive components.  Students can sign up for an EdPuzzle account, or you can choose to make it available to anyone with the link. EdPuzzle provides an embed code so that you can embed it into a course platform such as Blackboard. If you want to assign the videos as homework, you can create a class and require students to enroll, and the best part is that it's free for you and your students.

I'll be posting all of my materials in Blackboard for my courses, but I'll also post them here for more general accessibility.