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Alumnae reunite to give faculty hands-on webinar on using 'Kahoot!' to boost teaching

Published: March 24, 2022 Author: Staff reports

Ohio University alumnae Lu Cao and Olena Zastezhko reunited to give OHIO faculty a hands-on webinar on using “Kahoot!,” a game-based tool to boost teaching.

The two were classmates 10 years ago in the M.A. in Applied Linguistics program and recently found themselves reunited in a graduate education class. Soon, the idea to collaborate on the “Kahoot!” webinar emerged.

Lu Cao
Lu Cao

Cao earned a master’s degree in applied linguistics from the College of Arts and Sciences at Ohio University in 2012, after she completed her undergraduate study in teaching Chinese as a second or foreign language at Beijing Language and Culture University. She started teaching Mandarin Chinese as a teaching assistant when she was a graduate student at OHIO. Now, she is an assistant professor of instruction in the Chinese program in the Linguistics Department. She is also pursuing a Ph.D. in Instructional Technology in the Patton College of Education.

Olena Zastezhko
Olena Zastezhko

Zastezhko also earned a master’s degree in applied linguistics from the College of Arts and Sciences at Ohio University in 2012. She later became an instructor in the Intensive English Program at the University of Dayton. In 2020, she came back to Ohio University to pursue a master’s program in computer education and technology in the Patton College of Education.

The idea of a webinar was inspired by their collaboration on a class project in EDCT6042 Leadership and Professional Development in Technology. Cao and Zastezhko surprisingly found they were classmates again and quickly decided to work as a team for a class project about digital learning experiences.

It was just like 10 years ago when they worked as a team teaching in English For All, a program offered by the Linguistics Department to second language learners in the community that also serves as a practicum for student teachers in the Teaching English as a Foreign Language Certificate program.

“It brought us back to the old times when we prepared lesson plans and designed class activities for the practicum. The opportunity to work together on this webinar was like a reunion of old friends. We are glad that we could use our linguistics background and experience in language teaching to brainstorm ideas and make plans,” Cao said.

“Both of us have used 'Kahoot!' in our own teaching as an effective way to enhance students’ engagement and to bring fun to the class,” Cao explained. “Therefore, we thought, why not do a webinar and share our experiences with interested OHIO faculty and show them how to use this tool to boost their teaching both online and in person.” “Kahoot!” is an online game-based learning platform, on which users can create games and quizzes to enhance students' engagement. Users can access “Kahoot!” games either on a web browser or the “Kahoot!” app on their smart device.

In order to evaluate audience’s needs and interests, Cao and Zastezhko designed a registration survey, responses to which helped them structure the webinar in the most useful and relevant way. “During the webinar, after explaining what ‘Kahoot!’ is,” Cao said, “We invited participants to play a trivia game on ‘Kahoot!’ so that they could experience the ‘Kahoot!’ game as players. Then we brainstormed and summarized how we can use ‘Kahoot!’ in our teaching. And finally, we walked participants through the process of creating a simple ‘Kahoot!’ game.”

The webinar, offered on March 1, was a success, and they received positive feedback from the participants.

“We are very happy that we had an opportunity to share our experiences with other faculty and give them ideas about using ‘Kahoot!’ in their teaching. ‘Kahoot!’ is a powerful student engagement tool, and it has a lot of potential in education,” Zastezhko said. Almost all webinar participants considered the webinar to be very helpful and said they were confident in their ability to create their own "Kahoot!" games after this webinar. Moreover, they also expressed that they are very likely to use "Kahoot!" in their teaching.