Whether we're back in the classroom, still remote, or some mixture of hybrid, student engagement is at the forefront of our minds. It's twice as hard to get students interested and participating when they're not in the room, but it can be challenging even when they're right in front of us. And engagement is obviously an important goal:
Engaged students scored almost 13% higher in general than less active students, according to a Gallup poll in 2019.
So how do we help engage our kids? We use tools and enable interactivity! It's been shown that live quizzes can improve student engagements with teachers, the material they're learning, and between the students themselves. Students learn much better when they participate rather than feel "talked at", so the easier and more fun and accessible we can make participation, the better.
One of the biggest names in quizzing, Kahoot has long been a favorite tool for everyone from elementary teachers to high school educators to college professors. It's also often used for interaction during corporate onboarding and training sessions — which explains the hefty price tag. Unfortunately, most schools don’t have the budget, and teachers need more affordable (and free) alternatives.
Here are 12 great learning games like Kahoot. Find a list of free games like Kahoot list at the end, as well!
Slides With Friends for education is actually a better option than Kahoot for the average classroom, and if you are working in small groups you can even use it totally free (with 12 students/teams you can use all features of the tool for no cost).
More than just an interactive learning platform, SlidesWith can help you make presentations with tons of new and different interactive learning tools to reach all of the students in your classroom. It lets you give every student a voice and helps them participate easily, safely, and proactively.
Some example features include:
The variety of options SlidesWith offers makes it easier for some students to participate. A lot of students might be shy and barely raise their hand, and it is hard to engage those students in traditional classroom settings. These social issues can be overcome by using learning games like Kahoot, but also through the use of quizzes and live polls on an anonymous basis. Students will be more likely to participate if they know they won’t be singled out, and SlidesWith gives you lots of options.
Quizziz is another learning game system like Kahoot, but it doesn’t offer as many features as Slides With. It’s still perfect for teachers, because it was developed with educators in mind. In fact, many school districts have adopted its use. It is highly accessible through any mobile or internet-connected device, and your students see the questions on their screen whether at home or in person.
The biggest downfall to Quizziz is that it really is just good for quizzes and quiz-like learning games. Still, there are a ton of pre-built teaching decks for English and Language Arts, Mathematics, Social Studies, and other core subjects.
There is a free and a paid version. The free version allows for up to 25 students to participate. If you have the luxury of smaller class sizes, or if you work in small groups, you can use this tool in your classroom for free. It was developed for corporate training, not students, but it will do the job.
Google Classroom is the preferred virtual learning platform for many schools and teachers. Designed to be a classroom management tool, it allows you to have interactive sessions with students remote and in-person at the same time. You can easily provide course materials, instructional videos, or study guides through the platform, as well as accepting and tracking incoming student work.
Google Classroom has a lot to offer, but they don’t have presentation tools like Slides With. Google Slides can be used with the classroom platform, but they don’t offer the same engaging tools that teachers have found highly effective.
However, you can use your Slides With presentation deck, along with all of its interactive components, with the video platform within Google Classroom. You can also upload the deck (or a stripped down version) into the classroom for later reference.
Quizlet offers another great feature that you don’t see in the other tools – flashcards. You can use their pre-built flashcard study decks, or you can build your own. This tool is definitely designed for retrieval practice, which is still the best way to help students recall of important information.
The limited functionality of this really does mean it is just a quizzing tool, but again they have a lot of ready to go templates in almost any subject imaginable.
Baamboozle is a learning game on steroids. Designed specifically for use in classrooms, it offers a wide range of ready to go quizzes, or you can make your own. You can also choose to give your students a random quiz so that different questions are asked each time, making it a more effective study tool. Although this is a great way to get students engaged with interaction and self-assessment, it isn’t the best tool for giving presentations.
Factile is another quiz tool that was developed specifically for classroom learning in response to the demands of teachers bringing new life into the classroom. Factile allows you to make quizzes or give your students pre-made quizzes to gauge retention and exam readiness. Students can interact with the lesson by answering questions digitally, even when in-person. There are also flashcard decks that can help them study for exams.
Quizalize is a great, affordable solution for the teacher that isn’t given resources or budget for classroom games, but understands that student engagement is required for retention and ultimately academic success. Quizalize doesn’t have the interactive features that the other options have, but the quizzes can be taken remotely.
While it might not be a replacement for Kahoot, it can take some of the work out of quizzes and grading, especially when teaching a hybrid class. It is also free for teachers to use for up to 3 classes and up to 5 activities, whereas other options have more limited free features.
If you have ever thought of an interactive learning activity for your students, you will find them ready to go here. Wordwall offers so many templates that you are sure to find one that will work for your class. You can distribute these quizzes to students remotely or in-person, but they won’t be completed in real-time. There is a free version that gives you access to a lot of the features so you can have autogenerated quizzes that you can input into Slides With, Kahoot, or another platform.
There are a number of completely free learning games that you can use in your classrooms, especially if your students all have smart devices available to them. These free options aren’t going to give you as much functionality, but they can make some of the work of planning lessons and engaging students a bit easier.
Here is a roundup of the most commonly known free learning games like Kahoot.
9. Slides With Friends — the free options for this tool is robust and super useful, as long as you have a smaller class. It's got more and better interactions than Kahoot. You can create your own interactive lessons with a fun and easy slide deck builder that lets you quiz, ask multiple choice questions, create word clouds, poll the audience, share photos, and much more. You can use the entire tool for free with up to 10 players, so as long as you only want to run it for smaller groups it's totally free.
10. Pear Deck Flashcard Factory – This completely free tool makes it easy to create flashcards for any lesson in any subject. Rather than a quizzing platform, Pear Deck helps you create (or adapt pre-built) flash cards to help your students grasp important concepts for study.
11. Flippity – Flippity is an amazing free tool that allows you to convert your Google spreadsheets into interactive digital manipulatives, activities, and tools. Set up your spreadsheet with the appropriate fields, and enter information for each question. Flippity will do the rest! This does require a bit more effort than the other options mentioned here.
12. ClassTools.net – Just what it sounds like, this site gives you access to some very helpful free classroom tools, including templates that make lesson planning and student engagement effortless.
13. Bonus option! SlidesWith – Use this tool for your small tutoring groups as well as your classroom. Enable your tutoring subjects to take live exams together!
Educational neuroscience expert Dr. David Sousa, student engagement is “the amount of attention, interest, curiosity, and positive emotional connections that students have when they are learning, whether in the classroom or on their own” (2016, p. 17). – Learning Sciences International. Likewise, the social aspect of interactive learning is so important that Google has launched a Social Literacy Project.
Are you ready to take your classroom interactions to the next level? Take advantage of all that Slides With Friends has to offer for free for up to 10 students to interact per activity. If you have a larger class, you can divide them into teams so that everyone can participate regardless. When you want all of the features of corporate or higher education on a K-12 teaching budget, you can’t go wrong with Slides With Friends.