Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past 10 years, you’ve probably heard of (and used) Quizlet. For the few who haven’t, Quizlet is an online flashcard system that allows users to create sets of terms and definitions as well as study those created by others. There are five study modes: Learn, Flashcards, Write, Spell (desktop only), and Test. There are also three game modes: Match, Gravity (desktop only), and Live. It is the last of these games that I would like to introduce in this post. More specifically, I would like to introduce a couple of alternatives that allow students to play over a video conferencing platform such as Zoom.
Before I delve into the details of how to set things up, I should first explain the basic objectives of Quizlet Live. Live is a quiz game played in teams. Each team is presented with a series of questions which they must answer correctly to advance. The first team to answer 12 consecutive questions correctly wins. Incorrect answers incur a three-second penalty and the team loses all of its points.
To start the game, the teacher selects a set and chooses how prompts and answers are to be displayed. A join code is then generated which the students enter on their devices. (It’s also possible to join by scanning a QR code). When all the students have joined, it’s time to make the teams. Quizet can do this automatically or the teacher can give students a number to enter that will put them into a particular team. When all the students have been placed in teams. The game can begin.
When Live is played in a classroom setting, members of a team sit together so that they can consult before choosing an answer. In remote learning situations, however, this is no longer possible. But that doesn’t mean that students and teachers cannot continue to enjoy the fun and excitement of playing Live. The easiest solution to the problem is the one that Quizlet has provided for its users, individual mode. Most aspects of the game are the same, except that students play on their own rather than as part of a team. Although this gets around the problem of trying to create remote teams, individual mode lacks the interaction of the original version, which most teachers agree is a key part of the learning experience.
Here is one possible workaround that teachers have come up with to allow students to enjoy Live as it was intended. This particular solution uses Zoom, but the same principles should apply to any video conferencing platform that features the ability to create breakout rooms. As with any learning activity, preparation is an essential element of success. Prior to the class, the teacher should login to Quizlet, select the desired flashcard set, and choose Live from the list of games. Two game modes are available: teams and individual (choose teams). Next, choose how you would like prompts and answers to display. Once this is done, the join code will be displayed on the screen.
Now it’s time to prepare Zoom. As the game will involve using breakout rooms, it’s best to arrange the students into groups on paper before the class begins. Although Zoom can assign students to breakout rooms automatically, it will save time if you allocate members manually according to your list. Type the link to Quizlet Live (quizlet.live) into the public chat and advise students to open it. Students will be taken to a new tab where they can enter the join code for the game. It’s possible to share your screen to display the code, but this involves the students switching tabs. I find it’s easier just to read the code and have them fill it in. While the students are busy entering their names, you can make the breakout rooms. When you are finished, return to the Quizlet Live screen. You should now see a list of all the players who have successfully entered the join code. If anyone is missing, repeat the code and wait for them to enter the game. When everyone is ready, press the button to start the game.
At this point you will have the option to randomly assign students to teams or have them join a specific team. In this case you want the latter. Students will be prompted to enter their team number on the screen. It is crucial that each member of a particular breakout room enters the same number. That way the students will be communicating with members of their own team while playing the game. If you plan to play Quizlet Live regularly, I would advise keeping the same groups and ensuring that students know their numbers. It will make the whole process of setting up much faster.
Once the students have entered their group number, all that remains is to start the game. At this point, I like to pop in and out of the breakout rooms to see how students are doing. I also use the broadcast feature to give pointers to all the teams and to provide updates on who’s leading. When a game has finished, I congratulate the winners before starting them off again. You’ll be happy to know that it’s possible to preserve the same groups from one game to the next and to change study sets.
Although it takes a while to set up at first, once teachers and students get the hang of it, Quizlet Live can become an important source of excitement and connection at a time when many students report feeling isolated and lonely.
If you have any other examples of games that can be played online using a video conferencing tool, please describe them in the comments section.