Gamifying Spanish Class with Gimkit!

Walk into my room and all of my students are on their phones. Eyes down. Engrossed in an online game that has their full attention. And I’m okay with that. In fact, I’m playing along on my phone.

The Game

Similar to Kahoot and Quizlet, Gimkit is a web-based trivia game created for classroom usage with students and teachers in mind.

The Creator

When he’s not creating new game modes, hiring new staff members, or responding to fans on Twitter, the creator of Gimkit is busy studying for his final exams–that’s because, he’s still in high school!

Say WHAT?!

Like Quizlet, which was created in 2005 by then 15-year-old Canadian student Andrew Sutherland, Gimkit was also created by a high school student. Josh Feinsilber, who graduates from Gibson Ek High School in Issaquah, Washington in June 2019, created Gimkit during the summer between his sophomore and junior year.

Kits

Kits are sets of questions created by a teacher (or teachers) that cover specific subject areas or topics. When you sign up for Gimkit, you are able to create five kits before being prompted to pay for an account.

Kit Creation

Kits can be created in three ways:
(1) manually typing questions and answers
(2) importing a .csv file
(3) importing one (or more) question set(s) from Quizlet

My Kits

My kit below focuses on who we are. It includes questions like ¿Cómo te llamas? and lots of phrases from Señor Wooly’s “Victor” videos. I love that Gimkit allows you to insert pictures into the questions!

You can preview my kit (play by yourself) or play it with you class. Just click here. However, you won’t be able to download the stats for kits you didn’t create (more on stats below).

Setting Up a Game

When you are ready to begin a game, you will have three options: Classic (individual) or Team (2-8 players per team), and Super Rich Mode (confession: I haven’t tried Super Rich Mode yet).

Creating a Goal

After you select one of the options above, you will need to set a goal. You can chose to:
(1) End the game at a certain TIME (minutes)
(2) RACE to be the first team to make x amount of money
(3) Go ALL IN to reach a collective amount of money amongst all teams

Here comes the REALLY fun part! You get to control all the variables!

Starting Cash: I thought this would start students out with so much money to shop before starting the game. Nope. Adding cash here just gets the class to their goal a little bit faster.
Handicap: Set the maximum amount that students or team can go in the hole.
Answer Check: Keep this! Why would you NOT want them to see the correct answer if they miss something?
Music: Played in the background during the game. Turn it off if you prefer to play silently or put on music from YouTube or Spotify.
Clapping: Again, I don’t get it, but kids LOVE it! Allows students to “clap” by pushing a button on their phone once the game is over. There is a counter on the screen the counts the number of claps.
Join In Late: Uncheck this if you don’t want students leaking the code to other classes and potentially having inappropriate user names or annonymous players join your game after you hit “Start.”

Power Ups and Punishments

In the “Shop Options” you can chose whether or not to let students use:
Powerups (increase the cash value per question, multiply the cash value per question, earn extra cash for answering two or more consecutive questions correctly) or Themes (frivolous spending of their money to change their background colors) and if you want to allow Clean Powerups Only (which means they cannot “ice” another team for 15 seconds or subtract from another team’s cash balance).

I always let students use Powerups and pay for desired Themes (a little money management!) and I’ve experimented with letting them use the “Punishments” as well. Part of the novelty of Gimkit is that you can change the way you play every time!

Player Naming

Similar to Kahoot, Gimkit allows students to choose their own nicknames. But nicknames can be rejected by teachers at any time by simply hovering over the inappropriate name and clicking on it. One easy way to get around this? Creating classes that prompt students to chose their name from a list (I haven’t done this yet). Also important to note, if you are wanting to look at the data in the report, emojis do not show up as characters–so if you have a student who chooses the name 😃😜👍✔ or something similar, their name will be blank in the report.

Stats??

After your class finishes a game, you will have the option to view and download the game statistics. You can always access this information for any game by going to your kit and clicking on “Reports.” From there, you will see something like this:

You can click on any of the icons under “Reports” to see a detailed PDF report of the game statistics. Below is a graphic I created after one of our Gimkit games (it’s the fifth one down from the list above–19 players).

Most of the students used fake names–I’m Manzana (purple arrow). I’m not sure who played under my name! 😂 But I’m fine with it!

As you can see, having the teacher on your team doesn’t guarantee a victory!

A note about teams: Currently, teams are randomized and there is no option for students to form teams or have a teacher chose the teams. Frankly, I’m glad!

Strategy

One of the aspects of Gimkit that really draws students in is the strategy behind it. If you look closely at the chart above, the winning team is not the one that answered the most questions OR had the best overall percentage! So HOW did they win??

Learn more about Gimkit strategies in an upcoming post. So stay tuned!

The Challenge

Now go play a game with your class! Come back here to review any of the topics covered or to ask questions. But, seriously, go play! Gimkit isn’t just student-centered, it’s teacher-friendly! You can learn-as-you-go WITH your students! And when they’ve become instant “experts” (and they will) change up the rules by choosing a different number of students per team, or disabling the Punishment features, or setting a time limit rather than a cash goal. Keep them on their toes! And HAVE FUN! The possibilities are endless!

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