The Best FREE Learning Tools for Your Classroom 2023
There is something about technology that kids can’t resist,which is why learning games like Shiken and Kahoot are such great classroom tools. One or two ed-tech companies have dominated the market for some time, but there are now lots of Kahoot alternatives that your school children will adore.
Learning through play has proven benefits for young minds,encouraging creativity, confidence, empathy, and a greater understanding of the topic. Many of these apps are great for adults too, enhancing training programs and further education in a light-hearted, memorable way.
Shiken is one of the newest competitors to the edtech market, aiming to outperform every other platform and engage children both inthe classroom and out. But how does it measure up alongside heavyweights like Kahoot, Gimkit, Quizlet, and Quizzizz? Read on to find out!
What’s So Great About Shiken?
This platform is all about encouraging healthy competition amongst students, with all your learning tools in one place. With live quizzes,courses, flashcards, and multiplayer challenges featured alongside meditation tools and relaxation tips, this is the most exciting thing to happen to the classroom since break time!
Studies have shown that Shiken helps students learn twice as fast as traditional teaching, while 98% of users report higher grades because of the platform. Educational games make the learning process fun, so students are excited to open the app and improve their scores. They can play alone or in groups, completing tasks curated by the teacher to ensure the games complement the current classroom topics. They can even create their own unique avatar which will highlight their space on the leaderboard as a beacon of motivation!
Other benefits include:
Mindfulness is a key part of the Shiken journey, encouraging regular breaks and self-awareness so that students can learn without burning themselves out. Users will gain useful time-management skills that will be invaluable in all areas of their lives, while motivational quotes and virtual nudges will keep them coming back for more!
Question Library and Exams
There are thousands of question sets available, boosting active recall amongst users and preparing them for the in-app exams. These tests are great for cementing knowledge and assessing how much each student has learnt. With both free and premium questions available, and AI knowledge keeping repetitive subjects well-spaced, you can also customise quizzes to suit the student.
You can even add spoken questions, encouraging confidence in languages and other subjects.
Everyone needs a target to aim for and you can set personalised goals for your students that will encourage faster learning. Goalsare time-based and students can take exams or quizzes to meet them, with regular reminders to keep the user on track.
Teacher notes can be added to questions, so they are always easy to find and recall. You can bookmark questions for later and access yournotes from any device thanks to the Cloud-based system.
The teacher dashboard is an important element of this learning app, giving teachers the ability to see how all their students aredoing at a glance. Chase up any kids who haven’t completed their tasks on time or reward those who consistently perform well.
This dashboard also gives suggestions for your next course, so you are always onestep ahead with your planning.
Kids love nothing more than watching someone talking to them on a screen (Hello YouTube!), so our video courses are sure to be a big hit!Students can easily pause and rewind sections as required and watch over and over again until they feel comfortable in their ability to recall the information.
What’s So Great About GimKit Live?
GimKit Live is special because it started as a high school project in 2018 and then took on a life of its own, becoming a fully functioning app with a small team behind it. This platform is incredibly similar to Kahoot,but it is far easier to use and has a simple interface that makes it ideal for younger children and teachers with an aversion to complicated technology.
Choose from a range of multiple choice and written answer questions, and a variety of game modes to promote knowledge in your captive students. Other features include:
The best way to remember things is to learn them again and again, which is why the questions may be repeated in different forms several times.
Virtual Cash Motivation
Every time a student hits a target, the app rewards them with virtual money. They can use these coins in-game to purchase power-ups and upgrades. How they invest these coins will determine how their game evolves,creating a personalised experience for the student. They can also lose money when they get a question wrong, increasing the need for accuracy throughout the game.
Recognisable Game Ideas
From the Floor is Lava to Humans Vs Zombies, traditional playground games are used to great effect to encourage further learning.
Set tasks for your students and let GimKit grade them for you, so your students can see their scores in real-time and you don’t have to spendhours marking!
KitCollab allows you to upload questions from students. Youcan then use these questions to create a new game the whole class can enjoy.
Various Login Options
GimKit login offers free and paid options for your class.Your students don’t even need their own account, as they can join games that you host using a GimKit code that you provide them with. The flexibility of use is great, allowing you to integrate the platform into all your lessons, or a select few.
GimKit is one of the cheaper platforms on the market, with high levels of competition keeping motivation high. However, it has its limitations. At the core of it, the idea is maybe too simple, with students answering questions to level up. There is little opportunity for out-of-the-boxthinking – questions are either right or wrong, with no allowance for closeanswers or discussion about why (of course, this is something you could talkthrough in class instead).
So, while it’s great for short bursts of use in the classroom or at home, this is not a platform that is likely to engage students for long periods. They will soon become bored of the one-dimensional idea.
What’s So Great About Quizlet?
Quizlet adds an extra layer of difficulty to the game show-styleplatforms. As well as making students work individually, this unique gameshow quiz places them in groups of three. Questions are then delivered to each teamand each child gets four different answers. The group works together to find the right answer on one of their devices. The team that gets all the answers right first, wins.
If your students need to revise at home, there are flashcards and study sets. The app features over 64 subjects, so you are sure to find the topic that suits your current classroom activities.
Other Quizlet features include:
Just telling the student they have the wrong answer isn’t enough. Quizlet talks the user through the problem, so they know what the right answer is and how to solve it next time.
Creating games that encourage collaboration ensures students have to talk to each other to get the right answers. This builds their teamwork, listening, and socialisation skills, making this a platform that goes beyond education. This also ensures that every student is included in the classroom game every single time.
The app can recognise when students are sitting close to each other and won’t start until all team members are nearby. This forces children to move around the room, stimulating their bodies for an activesession! One game also encourages standing, which is important for blood circulation.
A Unique Game Every Time
With so many possible flashcard combinations, students will never get the same game twice. This keeps learning fresh and interesting, sothey want to log in again and again.
Keep Track of Your Learning
Folders allow you to store study sets you want to use, which can then be converted to spreadsheets if needed. This is a great way to keep your classroom materials tidy and organised.
Free or Premium Options
While the free option gives you basic access and is ideal for one-off or occasional use, the premium version is a great addition to learning. Not only does it remove ads, but it allows you to study offline and gives you new, exciting features.
While Quizlet can be used for homework and revision, it is best played in groups of 6+, since every team needs at least three members.This can be limiting in smaller classes and also where the room doesn’t add up to a multiple of three. There are no other options for group play, so while the idea is fun at first, it can be boring after a while.
What’s So Great About Quizzizz?
Just like Kahoot.it, Quizzizz has an incredible library ofpre-made quizzes. If you can dream a subject, it will be there, with over 30million tests to choose from. It is quick and easy to use and allows you to set tasks for your students to complete in their own time or set up live games to enjoy in class.
This system is all about saving time for teachers. You can choose from the pre-set quizzes, make your own from scratch, or borrow elements of other quizzes for a mix-and-match-style game. Like a quiz someone else has made? You can use that too!
The whole package is user-friendly and looks good. Other Features of Quizzizz include:
From card-matching to multiple choice and filling in the blanks, the games are simple and inclusive. The students don’t have to think too hard about how to play, so they can concentrate on getting the answers right.
Point-Scoring and Competition
Students can play on their own to win points or in class fora low-level competitive game that ensures everybody gets a turn.
Or single questions. The app makes a note of questions students get wrong so you can retest them at another time after helping to improve their knowledge. Regular reports also help to identify gaps in the student’s knowledge, so you can work them into your lesson plans.
Share Your Library and Plans
Got a cover teacher in? You can easily share your planned tasks with them so that your class maintains the same level of learning and you can carry on as normal when you return.
Lots of the edutech apps on the market today want to tie you into annual plans. Quizzizz lets you pay month by month. There are free accounts for single users or a few paid options that gives you wider access across the network.
There is a lot to love about Quizzizz as an edutech tool.One of the biggest gripes, however, is that there is little in the way of customer support. You can send an email or pester them on Twitter, but there is no way to speak to someone instantly if you need help setting up a quiz, or the server goes down. There are also only a few game options, which can lead to this getting boring quickly. Since this platform is aimed at younger students,they might need a bit more encouragement than a few points to keep on track.
What’s So Great About Kahoot Live?
The most well-known interactive learning app around, Kahoot Certainly has a lot of fans. However, as one of the older platforms on the market, it has a few flaws that its competitors are honing in on! That doesn’t mean you should completely discount this tool – it has been around a while for good reason!
Kahoot isn’t just about quizzes for the students. It has a lot of other resources on the Kahoot marketplace that teachers can use to enhance lessons outside of the app. There are lots of different game modes to stop students from getting bored and global challenges to allow children to compete with others in different schools!
When you head to the Kahoot login page, you get the choice of different styles of accounts. You can sign up as a teacher or student, oryou can simply decide to further your knowledge as an individual. There is another option for professional use too.
The Kahoot team are constantly making changes to the app to try and keep it fresh. Other features include:
While lots of apps use in-game credits to boost motivation,Kahoot focuses on far more exciting prizes. Amazon gift cards and Kahoot SwagBags are up for grabs if your students think they’ve got what it takes!Teachers can earn money too, by heading to the Kahoot marketplace and becoming a ‘creator’!
Weekly Live Streams
You can play games live, but Kahoot also hosts weekly live training sessions. Your whole class can tune in to find out how to use Kahootand make the most of all the features in the app.
New Game Modes
Learning through interactive games is great, but students' attention can disappear quickly! Kahoot gets around this by constantly updating with new game modes, so students are eager to log in and see what they’ve missed.
It’s not just the marketplace. Kahoot encourages users to connect on social media with the hashtag #kahoot. They want users to share their stories so that others can help, encourage, or celebrate with them.
Students don’t need their own accounts – they can simply join their teacher’s game with a Kahoot code and get started. This makes for smooth and seamless process every time.
For everything that is great with Kahoot, there are as many things that seem to upset users. The free plan is very limited, so it is perfect to use as a trial but unsuitable for ongoing use. Kahoot also seems to crash regularly,and customer support is restricted to email, which makes it impossible to get live help as you need it. Finally, plans are inflexible – once you’re signed up, you are in the contract for a whole year.
So Which Educational Tool is Best?
Of course, this is a matter of preference. What suits one user won’t necessarily work for another. However, as biased as this may be, we believe Shiken is superior to the rest. The platform has all the functionality of the others – with lots of extra features, but it promotes a healthier learning experience. It is a holistic platform, eliminating the need to use many apps at once, thanks to its note-taking feature, video courses,goal-setting, and speech function. The teacher dashboard makes it easy to use,while the question library is extensive, working for many different stages of learning.
As an all-rounder for your classroom, Shiken makes the most sense!