Wellcome-Wolfson Institute for Experimental Medicine, School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences, Queens University Belfast (UNITED KINGDOM)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2021 Proceedings
Publication year: 2021
Page: 7582
ISBN: 978-84-09-27666-0
ISSN: 2340-1079
doi: 10.21125/inted.2021.1524
Conference name: 15th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 8-9 March, 2021
Location: Online Conference
COVID-19 pandemic has posed significant challenges for Higher Education Institutions, faculty members and students and has transformed educational process in an extremely rapid way. Since March 2020 many universities in the United Kingdom offer most of their teaching sessions in synchronous virtual format instead of the traditional face-to-face classes. This transition occured in such a speed that in many occasions did not allow staff to receive relevant training and to carefully consider how to efficiently transform their lectures and tutorials to an online format. The lockdown has added further challenges for staff members and shrunk their time resources which could be linked to low motivation for innovation and lead to one-way instructive sessions and poor student engagement.
Solutions for engaging virtual classes constitute an urgent need in order to tackle the challenges during the new era of academic practice. Among various approaches and tools, incorporation of Kahoot! challenges in a classroom is viewed as an easy-to-learn tool which can create a positive atmosphere and support student engagement. Kahoot! is a game-based learning platform, used as educational technology mainly in schools. Quizzes and challenges can be accessed via web or mobile app. Kahoot! has a strong flavour of gaming as opposed to polling apps or other quizzes platforms commonly used in Higher Education. Elements of competition, personalized cartoon avatars via Bitmoji or creative nicknames as well as sounds and colour codes are directly linked to a ‘fun’ setting rather than a ‘learning’ setting.
In this context, Kahoot! was consider a suitable tool for delivering engaging e-lectures not only because of the fun factor which is essential under the pandemic consideration but also for the simplicity of the tool which makes it easily accessible to faculty members without the need for major training and considerable investment of time. By applying Kahoot! in Biomedical virtual classrooms (Microsoft Teams), we observed significant positive student attitudes towards the tool. The majority of students reported that Kahoot!: (i) was supporting their learning and understanding; (ii) making the course more enjoyable; (iii) had an impact with regard to feeling more connected with their peers. Importantly, a 100% score was obtained for the question ‘playing Kahoot! was fun’.
With regard to faculty perspectives, a questionnaire was shared on a pilot cohort of staff members. Results revealed considerable scepticism about the use of new tools in class and high resistance to try them. Lack of time resources and unclear view on educational benefits were reported as major reasons for these negative attitudes.
Our work provides a rational for supporting the incorporation on Kahoot! and other game-based tools in Higher Education teaching in order to enhance student experience and create highly engaging e-classes. Furthermore, game-based learning tools can support students’ well-being in the era of pandemic as they are perceived as ‘fun’ activities which connect them with their peers. Organized efforts for information dissemination with regard to the educational benefits of game-based Apps, as well as busting the myth of high time investment in order to familiarise oneself with the tool, will definitely assist against faculty resistance towards incorporation of game-based app like Kahoot! in their teaching sessions.
Higher Education Pedagogies, Gaming and Learning, COVID19 pandemic, e-learning, e-Teaching, virtual classes.