What is a Kahoot? 4 Things Students Need to Know


If you spend enough time in a classroom setting, there’s a high chance you’ll overhear a teacher instructing the students to prepare themselves for playing “a Kahoot!”

Launched in 2012, Kahoot! is an educational platform that integrates gaming elements, such as quizzes and interactive activities, and has gained substantial popularity within educational circles, particularly among educators and learners. This popularity persists despite its notable shortcomings in facilitating more advanced learning beyond the simple memorization of facts.

The company’s popularity, which surged throughout the years of the pandemic, has now caught the interest of investors. Consequently, the company has consented to a buyout worth $1.7 billion by an investor consortium spearheaded by Goldman Sachs Asset Management.

It is anticipated that the transaction will be finalized by the year’s conclusion, subject to obtaining the necessary clearances from regulatory bodies. EdWeek Market Brief Once the agreement is concluded, Kahoot!, a company from Norway that is currently listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange, will transition into a privately-held entity. This completion of the transaction may signal potential alterations for the educational platform, though the nature of these possible modifications remains uncertain.

The approximately $2 billion valuation and its widespread use in K-12 education bring up four important questions:

What Exactly is a Kahoot!?

Kahoot is a digital education platform that enables users to craft, exchange, and participate in game-like quizzes which turn the educational setting into a quiz contest atmosphere. Educators have the option to design their personalized quizzes or to search for, utilize, or adapt quizzes that are available to the public.

Utilizing the no-cost edition, educators have the ability to design quizzes with multiple-choice options, incorporate visuals to serve as responses, examine analytical data, and use other fundamental features. Educators, educational institutions, or school districts are required to… (Note: The paragraph seems to be incomplete, so the paraphrasing ends where the original text ends.) pay to access more options and advanced features.

Kahoots may be delivered in real-time or set as individual-paced study tasks. In a live Kahoot setting, the quizzes appear on interactive whiteboards, visible to all, while students submit their responses using their personal gadgets. Typically, students need to respond to the prompts within a given time limit.

Following each question, students have the ability to view the scores of all participants. The quicker students provide a correct response, the higher their score will be. At the conclusion of the game, the dashboard displays a winners’ podium.

What Makes Kahoot? So Popular?

Kahoot! ranks as one of the top game-based educational platforms worldwide. According to the company’s data, in the past year, approximately 8.6 million teachers around the globe have utilized the Kahoot! service for their learning needs.

“Christine Elgersma, who is the senior editor for learning content at Common Sense Media—a nonprofit that studies the effects of technology on children—believes that the appeal of Kahoot! and similar quiz platforms stems from their ability to diversify teaching and captivate students’ attention in ways that conventional instructional approaches might not achieve.” Common Sense’s review  gave Kahoot! four out of five stars.

An advantage is that it adds excitement to formative assessments, which are methods educators employ to evaluate students’ understanding of recent topics. A disadvantage is that quizzes made by users might lack quality or contain unsuitable content. Kahoot!’s rivals consist of Quizizz, Blooket, Gimkit, Quizlet, Formative, Mentimeter, and Plickers.

In an email, Louisa Rosenheck, who is the Director of Learning Design at Kahoot!, explained that fundamentally, Kahoot! provides an interactive environment where everyone participates individually, yet also feels part of a larger collective. This creates a blend of personal autonomy and a sense of belonging to a community.

“She expressed that the image of everyone congregating around the central display, akin to a ‘campfire’ setting, is a potent one.”

How is it used by teachers?

Educators utilize the platform at various stages within a lesson or unit. Some educators employ it prior to presenting a new subject to assess students’ pre-existing knowledge, or they apply it as an end-of-lesson evaluation to determine what the students have absorbed from the day’s teaching.

Educators have encouraged students to design their own Kahoots as part of project work and for use during presentations. Occasionally, instructors employ the platform as a warm-up activity at the start of the academic year, utilizing questions that facilitate students’ familiarization with their teacher.

Rosenheck mentioned that Kahoot! regularly receives positive feedback from instructors who prefer using the platform due to its simplicity, flexibility, creativity, and the fact that it is well-liked by students.

“The types of questions are recognizable and user-friendly. It effortlessly integrates with the existing learning activities in the classroom to enhance the social aspect and increase engagement,” she further stated.

Adam Sparks, who has seven years of experience teaching social studies and English at the middle and high school levels in Nebraska and Illinois, mentioned that he would incorporate “Kahoot! Fridays” into his middle school social studies lessons. Each Friday, he would kick off the session with a Kahoot! quiz that included 10 questions related to recent news events.

“Sparks, who currently holds the position of CEO and co-founder of Short Answer, an online platform for peer-to-peer feedback, explained that providing a motivation for the children to stay informed about ongoing happenings in the world was her goal. This, in turn, served as a foundation for initiating discussions about those events with them.”

“Sparks also mentioned that kids seem to be truly captivated by Kahoot!. In fact, numerous teachers have provided their perspectives on the matter.” Twitter, Threads, and Facebook Expressing that their pupils are fond of the gaming element.

“Children really thrive on the competitive aspect,” explained Sparks. “Without a doubt, they get a rush from the urgency of speeding up to win, constantly questioning, ‘Did I succeed?’ It’s quite thrilling. If you enter a room where kids are engaged in Kahoot!, you’ll unmistakably notice every indication that they’re fully involved in the activity.”

His Friday Kahoot! sessions also inspired students to independently search for current news articles.

“He joked that it’s unlikely that students in the 8th grade are actively looking to read an article from The New York Times.”

Is Kahoot! a Useful Learning Tool?

Sparks is of the opinion that Kahoot! excels in capturing students’ attention and energizing their enthusiasm for learning. However, he, along with fellow teachers, warns that it may not be the most effective means of truly assessing the depth of students’ comprehension.

“Sparks believes that the speed at which a student can press a button doesn’t truly reflect their understanding. In his view, simply being able to identify and remember information is not the same as being able to apply and analyze it. According to Sparks, when evaluating a student, the focus should be on their ability to utilize the knowledge or skills being taught to them.”

Elgersma, representing Common Sense Media, concurred, stating that one would not employ it extensively for developing critical thinking abilities or for an in-depth exploration of any topic. It is primarily intended for captivating attention. Potentially, it could be used for a basic level of education and to swiftly gauge children’s understanding of a specific subject.

A 2021 literature review A study on the impact of Kahoot! on educational results determined that the platform typically has a “beneficial influence on learning results through its interactive aspects.” Kahoot! has the potential to boost how students engage with both their instructors and classmates, thereby enhancing their involvement, presence, and scholastic achievement.
Nonetheless, there are some disadvantages. Educators who gave their input to Education Week concerning Kahoot! noted that the countdown clock can cause stress for certain students, the same individuals often prevail in the games, and a number of students struggle to read the questions and answers that are displayed on the interactive whiteboard.

Some contend that Kahoot! need not evolve into an instrument for measuring profound understanding. “Kahoot! has its own niche, and it certainly fulfills a role in the educational environment that educators value,” stated Elgersma.


Kahoot! is in the process of enhancing its platform based on suggestions from teachers, according to Rosenheck. For example, the option to disable timers is now available to shift away from emphasizing quick responses, and there are newly introduced game styles that offer students various forms of interaction beyond simply selecting answers. Additionally, Kahoot! aims to make the platform suitable for every student’s unique way of learning and to advance the precision of the data gathered on student achievement.

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