For those of you who are new to the idea of real-time quizzes in the classroom, the idea is as follows: whether you’re in the classroom or teaching remotely, you can show or not show on the big screen a question. Students join the quiz from their own devices by entering a special code. You can share the quiz at the beginning or end of the class, or even conduct the entire lesson through one of such tools by switching between regular slides to interactive ones.

1. Kahoot

There are few who haven’t had a whirl of Kahoot, but if you’re in that category, sign up and check out some of the publicly available quizzes. For example, here’s one about space from National Geographic.

When played live in the classroom, each quiz is accompanied by a catchy tune which gets everyone into the spirit of the game. On their own devices, students simply see coloured shapes which they tap in order to answer questions they see on the main screen. The game is points-based, with the players' answers displayed on-screen after each question along with a regularly-updated leaderboard, creating a real sense of competition.  After the quiz, you can download a spreadsheet showing the students’ answers and time taken to complete each question. You just have to make sure they use their real names when they log in.

Beyond live interaction, Kahoot quizzes can also be sent to students to be completed at their own pace at home. A disadvantage with Kahoot is that students can’t see the questions on their own devices. So if they can’t see the main screen, they can’t see the questions. This is particularly troubling in an online class with a slow connection. 

Kahoot is more commonly used for testing knowledge with multiple choice and true/false questions, as these are provided in the free version. But a paid version also gives you the opportunity to type your answer, do surveys, and collect opinions. Learn more here.

Question types available on Kahoot’s paid version. Credit: support.kahoot.com
Question types available on Kahoot’s paid version. Credit: support.kahoot.com

2. Mentimeter

Mentimeter is not too different from Kahoot in functionality but it provides a cleaner and more elegant look, using more pastel colors rather than the deep primary colours. An advantage over Kahoot is that it shows the questions and answers on the student’s device, so the quality of their connection won’t affect their experience. The range of question types in the free version is quite broad, including ranking, scales, open-ended, and even a grid.

You can also create an unlimited number of presentation slides, but only three question slides, so it’s not the best option for a full-fledged quiz. With the paid version, teachers can import a PDF file of their presentation and supplement it with an unlimited number of interactive questions. Each student’s personal contribution in the quiz isn’t recorded for the teacher to review later. Learn more here.

 Examples of teacher’s screen and student’s screen. Credit: mentimeter.com
Examples of teacher’s screen and student’s screen. Credit: mentimeter.com

3. Socrative

Socrative is great fun for students. Here, the focus is less on everyone competing with each other, but the format offers a great way for you to check each student’s progress. Question types are quite limited: there are multiple choice, true or false, and short answer questions. If you want to add an element of competition, there is a feature called Space Race. It allows students to form teams or work individually and you – to see their scores as they progress through the quiz. A paid version of Socrative allows you to import student names and IDs and restrict access by ID so you can track students’ progress over a series of quizzes.

4. Polls everywhere

This tool has loads of super cool question types and ways to present the results. For example, you can insert an image, such as a map, and students can choose a particular location on it from their devices. A downside is that you can’t create a presentation or a series of questions to look like a quiz per se, rather the students have to connect to your “page.” It’s a bit fiddly but this is a great tool if you’re looking to find more versatile question types that aren’t freely available anywhere else. 

Question types, an example of a “clickable image” is shown here. Credit: polleverywhere.com
Question types, an example of a “clickable image” is shown here. Credit: polleverywhere.com

5. Quizizz

Quizizz has a similar vibe to Kahoot and Mentimeter, but I think it offers the best of both worlds. More question options than Kahoot, no limit in the number of slides, and questions are shown on the students’ devices. Besides multiple choice, polling and type-your-answer questions, there’s also fill-in-the-blank, and you can add presentation slides in between the questions, too. You can also import questions from a spreadsheet. With Quizizz you don’t actually present the questions on a main screen, so you can either give your students limited time to answer questions or let them do it at their own pace. The quizzes come with loud bouncy music and little power up icons.

6. GoFormative

This is a very fun tool using which you can also make your own presentation. Students can be added to the class by email or using Google Classroom, so it’s not a bad idea to set it up in advance and use it over several lessons. It’s also possible to get in with a code.

Question options are interesting, especially with the paid version (allows for an audio response), but the free version lets you do the usual basic questions, it also has a feature where you can draw your answer, which is great if you want students to show how they’d calculate something or to draw a diagram. On your screen, you can look at all students' responses at once in separate boxes, so you have an immediate visual of how your students are doing without embarrassing anyone. Results can also be exported – you get to export them for free four times a month.

7. Wooclap

Wooclap is very similar to Mentimeter, with an even wider range of question types including fill-in-the-blanks but only 2 question slides can be used in a presentation in the free version. A cool feature on Wooclap is that you can give the same question again to the same students later on, and it’ll show them on the screen how they compared to last time. The paid version looks much more exciting and more enhanced.

8. Nearpod 

You can read a full review of Nearpod in action on ITMO.NEWS. Much like GoFormative, this program allows you to create your whole lesson on the platform so students see the slides in real time on their own devices, and then they take part in interactive aspects throughout. The range of question types are limited, and at the end you get all the results of your students, but only in the PDF format.

9. GoSoapBox

This is quite a simple program. You can have it open for the whole class, as the free version allows you to have up to 30 students. At any point during class, they can click the “I am confused” button to let you know how well the students are processing the material. You can lock and unlock quizzes, polls, and discussions during the class.

Screenshot of teacher’s view from gosoapbox.com. Credit: gosoapbox.com
Screenshot of teacher’s view from gosoapbox.com. Credit: gosoapbox.com

10. Plickers

This is designed more for the in-person classroom, when you don’t want your students using their own devices. All questions are multiple choice and can be shown on the screen, or maybe even read out. All students get cards that they have to lift up based on their answer to the question, and your phone collects the responses.

Example of students showing their answer cards while playing plickers. Credit: medium.com/@jordantheleast
Example of students showing their answer cards while playing plickers. Credit: medium.com/@jordantheleast

Now, it might seem like an overwhelming amount of choices to achieve the same goal. So first start by deciding why you want to use live quizzes in the first place. What is the objective? On that basis, try to choose a tool that helps you achieve that goal. For each tool, there are many YouTube videos explaining how to use every single feature, so it just takes a search if you’re unsure! Besides providing a way for you to check how your students are managing during the lesson, these quizzes are also a chance to do something fun! But it’s only fun if it’s smooth, so make sure to practice using the tool with other colleagues, friends or family beforehand.