It’s always fun to return to the classroom after attending TCEA with something new to use with the students right out of the gate. Of course, as with all things technological, it’s a bit of a risk to try something for the first time without testing how it’s affected by random things like network firewalls. Fortunately, my gamble worked with Gimkit.
Gimkit is an online student response system similar to Kahoot. It was developed by a high school student, who added in an interesting twist – monetization. Students win virtual money as they answer questions correctly. The money can be used to shop for different upgrades such as making each answer worth more money or “icing” your opponents.
Teachers can make Gimkits from scratch, a spreadsheet, or a Quizlet. The questions are multiple choice. Unlike Kahoot, the questions appear on the student devices while the teacher device streams a live leaderboard. The board shows each student’s earnings, who is ahead, and the collective amount earned by the class. I ended up setting my two different engineering classes up as opponents in a “season” so they could compete to see which class earned the most. (Hint: this keeps students from “icing” each other during the game because they will lose out on collective earnings.)
Teachers can also set a time limit, which means that questions will repeat. To be honest, I thought the students would get bored once questions started coming back around, but they begged for more time after ten minutes.
The game was such a success with my 8th-11th graders on Thursday that I decided to use it for another class I was teaching in rotation to 8th graders on Friday. Again, full engagement.
The students in my 4th rotation started getting messages that the site had just upgraded and they were suddenly bounced out of the game. I almost had a complete mutiny on my hands as they realized they would be out of the running for the class competition.
Fortunately a similar situation happened while Leslie Fisher was presenting Gimkit at TCEA. She tweeted Gimkit, and they immediately rolled the site back to the working version. I decided to try the same thing.
My students were dubious.
“What do you mean you’re going to tweet him, Miss? How is that gonna help?”
“This ain’t fair. We’re never gonna win now, Miss!”
Withing a couple of minutes, Gimkit tweeted back their apologies and fixed the issue. My students were astounded.
That class won the competition, by the way. (Free outdoor time next period.)
So, if you have secondary students, I would definitely recommend you check out Gimkit the next time you want to do something a little different for a formative assessment. It will be interesting to watch as this site expands its offerings, but hopefully it will always keep the current features for free.