Kahoot! Studio and Retrieval Practice

In my experience, many students LOVE Kahoot!  The game… the competition… the music… the leaderboard… all of it.

And by now, it’s almost cliche to say “it’s NOT about the tool, it’s how you USE the tool that matters”.  As with all tools, using Kahoot when appropriate can be very effective, and kids might not realize they’re learning!  In math class, use Kahoot carefully.  We don’t want to make kids feel unnecessary anxiety or reinforce that fast math = you’re good at math.   So, before we poo poo the fact that much of Kahoot! relies on timed-tasks and a little friendly competition… please… don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater. Let’s not dismiss a tool that KIDS LOVE that can be used strategically and effectively.

I had the pleasure of attending a session at an Apple Institute this summer that presented brain research regarding the concept of “retrieval practice” or the “testing effect” – namely… instead of being a teacher who’s always trying to put information INTO students’ brains… provide plenty of opportunities for them to pull information back OUT of their brains as a means of LEARNING and RETAINING concepts.  The “testing effect” is not about “tests” or “grades” in the traditional sense; rather, students are “testing” their own ability to understand, apply, and retain concepts.

Tools like Socrative and Kahoot! serve students well in this purpose.  Teach by asking questions, one at a time, and display the class results for each question so we can talk about them, correcting misconceptions in a low-stakes no-grades-here retrieval practice environment that’s also fun!

Note: It’s easy to get swept up in the Kahoot “leader board” and classroom energy without pausing to consider and discuss student responses between questions.  Don’t miss the opportunity for some valuable classroom dialogue here.  Putting on the breaks before advancing to the next question is a great way to reteach and have conversations with students about the content at hand!  

I’ve had the pleasure of partnering with Kahoot! Studio the past few months – “a new offering of original, ready-to-play games from Kahoot! content creators and our partners within education, publishing, entertainment and other industries”.  These standards-aligned and curated Kahoot! experiences might serve your students well in retrieval & distributed practice.

My favorite part about this creation opportunity has been using the Kahoots! with my OWN students, and seeing their excitement and success.  GHOST MODE is a favorite feature, as well as using the Kahoot! app to share CHALLENGES that can be done asynchronously.

A comprehensive collection of Kahoot! Studio math resources can be found here.

I’ve also created this Google Sheet to organize the Kahoots! I’ve been working on, aligned to Texas Algebra 1 TEKS.  This document will change as new Kahoots! are created and released!

Distributed practice?

Retrieval practice?


“BLIND” Kahooting?



There are so many ways a Kahoot! can be used with students!

How are YOU using Kahoot! in math class?

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2 Responses to Kahoot! Studio and Retrieval Practice

  1. Great post. Love the emphasis on the pedagogy if Kahoot; HOW you use it. I wrote a recent post describing how we use Kahoot in my math classes: https://mslwheeler.wordpress.com/2017/12/15/how-we-kahoot/

    • Cathy Yenca says:

      YES! I read your post with interest, Laura, and said an AMEN to first and foremost considering pedagogy when using Kahoot! for math. There are so many great tools at our fingertips, and each one can be used strategically. HOW we use these tools with students is such an important consideration, and I applaud your effective uses and detailed post. Thanks for sharing!

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