The Game of Learning


Arya Takalkar and Alicia Zheng

In FCPS, schools have started using laptops and teachers have adapted to using online learning tools to engage students. According to an anonymous poll, the most popular learning tools were Kahoot and Quizlet mostly because of their user-friendly interface. 

Commonly used ones were Kahoot, Quizlet, Gimkit, Blooket, Mathspace, NoRedInk, Desmos, Socrative, Quizizz, and Quizlet Live. 

“Kahoot [is my favorite], because it’s fun and it’s a competition and I like winning,” said Christina Liu, a seventh-grader on the Champions team. 

Keya Shah, a seventh-grader on the Champions team, prefers Quizlet because of its variety of features. 

“It’s easy for memorization and also fun, like the asteroids games. There’s also Quizlet Live, which is good for groups,” said Keya.

Quizlet is Keya’s overall favorite because there are flashcards and other functions that help her a lot. She also likes Quizlet Live when working with groups. For more simple subjects, she likes to use Kahoot since there are no possible advantages, like powerups. 

On the other hand, self-study may not be the best option for students. Kahoot and Blooket have been used for group studying and grabbing more attention because they have motivation. 

“Kahoot, because the competition, and there are no power ups (as in Quizizz, Blooket, and Gimkit) because some people just get lucky and keep on getting power ups, there’s no advantage for some people. It’s fun, it’s like ‘oh, you’re on your own’ it’s purely based off accuracy and speed,” said Keya Shah.  

Yash Date, eighth-grader on the X-treme team said, “Quizlet’s really good, because mainly you could learn a great set of definitions effectively so it saves a lot of time.” 

Like seventh-graders, eighth-graders also prefer to use Kahoot and Blooket for group studying. They think that both are a great way to have fun and also learn/review in short periods of time. 

“Kahoot [is really good in a group], mainly because the number of questions there are, it’s a very fun way for a group of people to learn effectively in a short amount of time,” Yash said. 

Blooket is very similar to Kahoot, making it very popular amongst students. Yash likes Blooket because of all the different game modes.

Yash states, “It’s a great way to have a lot of fun and learn at the same time.” 

Many teachers love using learning tools, Mr. Moosa Shah, a seventh-grade science teacher on the Trailblazers, feels that teachers should be open to trying all of them.

“They can see which one they like, which one fits their management style better, which one helps engage the kids the most. Then once they’ve tried them all they can see which one is more effective.” said Mr. Moosa Shah.

Most teachers have varying opinions based on what class they teach. Their main goal is to get the students to participate in classroom activities. 

“I’m more of an old-fashioned teacher, hands-on, paper pencil, I want to see the processing, I don’t like the multiple choice thing, because it could be a guessing game. I like that I can give you the answer [and] you can tell me how you got the answer. Anything that shows me the students’ thinking, I prefer,” Mr. Shah. 

Mr. Shah prefers paper and pencil, but he believes that teachers younger than him are more technologically oriented. He also believes that Kahoot is very good because it’s anonymous and if someone gets something wrong, they don’t feel bad about it. 

Mr. Steve Davis, a seventh grade English teacher on Dream Team, mostly prefers NoRedInk because it’s made specifically for English learning. He also likes Kahoot and Quizlet because they are simple, very easy to understand, and are engaging for the students . 

“NoRedInk is the best, especially for punctuation and grammar; it may not be as good as paper and pencil for some students, but it is nice that they can access it anywhere, and it walks you through everything step by step,” Mr. Davis said. 

Ms. Elizabeth Joyce, a seventh-grade math teacher on Dream Team, doesn’t have a favorite but she does like Kahoot because students really like it. However, she feels that students need to understand that you can’t always play games. She also likes Desmos because it was made for math and the responses are sent directly to the teacher. She also believes that using a paper and pencil is better in some situations 

“I think it depends on what you are looking to engage with, like a competition to quickly answer stuff, or using it as a learning tool as opposed to a checking tool,” Ms. Joyce.

Mrs. Sharri Clifford, a seventh-grade history teacher on the Trailblazers team, really likes Pear Deck because students can show that they learn something without being put on the spot or having to raise their hands. She also likes Gimkit because they are so focused on the game, that they don’t even realize how much knowledge they are retaining. 

“In terms of concepts and higher level things, I’m going to go old school. I haven’t seen anything better than studying with a friend,” said Mrs. Clifford. 

Both eighth-graders and seventh-graders like to use Kahoot and Blooket for rather vague reviews with friends and family. Quizlet has the majority of the students’ views for self studying, this is because of all of the modes, like gravity (a game), flashcards, etc. It’s very helpful for vocabulary. 

“I think that there are a lot of tools out there, but it depends on what you need,” said Mrs. Clifford.

Most teachers believe that all learning tools are viable but it mostly depends on what the students need. Most teachers also think that old-fashioned paper and pencil is something that will always work no matter what. 

“[Using learning tools] is a fun way to help students engage with the content, it’s a little different than answering the same questions,” said Ms. Joyce. 

Learning tools help students and teachers in so many ways. They help students become more engaged with the topic, it’s an easier way to retain information, and they help students feel more comfortable answering questions and participating in class.

Mrs. Clifford thinks, “What’s really cool is that you guys have so many more things on your laptops now than what we used to have.”