Gamifying learning

Kahoot!’s game-based platform makes learning fun for kids in Norway and the US

Photo courtesy of Kahoot!  Students work together using Kahoot!’s interactive tools.

Photo courtesy of Kahoot!
Students work together using Kahoot!’s interactive tools.

Rasmus Falck
Oslo, Norway

Kahoot! is one of Norway’s most exciting startups and one of the world’s fastest-growing learning brands. Kahoot! is played by over 50 million educators and learners in 180 countries. Players connect in real-time to create a social, fun, game-based learning space. Their free game-based platform unlocks the magic for teachers and students. You can even read about the company on the government’s home page. It brings you to learning!

It all started in December 2011 when the founders Johan Brand, Jamie Brooker, and Morten Versvik founded the company together with NTNU Technology Transfer. Today the entrepreneurs still own the company together with the other employees and the professor Alf Inge Wang. The professor is Norway’s only games professor and won the Technology Achievement Award for his work on games last year. NTNU Technology Transfer sold their shares to two entrepreneurs who are currently CFO and Chairman of the Board in the company. In September 2013 Kahoot! was launched and the company went global and had black figures that year.

Today, they are based in Oslo, London, and Austin, Texas, and have about 35 employees. They also have a team in the Philippines for testing and employees in France and Rhode Island.

About 75 percent of Kahoot!’s users are American school children. In Norwegian papers you can read about the American school in New York where everyone knows what Kahoot! is. A teacher with 25 years’ experience has never seen the class so ready for an activity. This is an active way to practice knowledge.

In Kahoot! the questions and answers from the students are shown on a large screen that anyone can see. For each question, you have to answer correctly and quickly. During the quiz each student can follow how they are doing. The game-based educational platform is like a PlayStation for education. It has a refreshingly new way of introducing a subject and formative assessment through quizzing, collaboration, and presentation for content. According to the company, Kahoot! ensures 100 percent engagement by using elements of a gameshow to enhance learning, combining multiplayer game-based learning, ease-of-use, and mobile technology, creating and enchanting social experience to leave everyone totally gripped and absorbed in the subject.

In America the game is well integrated in the schools, fitting into their learning structure. The teachers like to play, have fun, and are involved. It requires minimal technology, and Norwegian schools are well equipped to use the system. The founders’ dream is that the school sector becomes more engaged. Some are having it rough in school; they are bored and stay home. If we could get some of them involved, it would be great!

This article originally appeared in the Oct. 9, 2015, issue of the Norwegian American Weekly. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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