By Chris Bavender
A global game of trivia called Kahoot is connecting students around the world. The game focuses on pop culture because of its unifying nature.
“All kids are familiar with Minecraft, En Canto, Baby Shark, etc.,” said Steven Auslander, founder of the Kahoot Cup. “Kids are kids. As a whole, they love Disney, video games, popular music, etc. In the Kahoot, they realize how much they all have in common, and I think that’s important.”
Auslander, who teaches technology to students at Allisonville Elementary in Indianapolis, started the Kahoot Cup five years ago. He’s always enjoyed connecting his students with “engaging learning experiences with peers and experts from all over the world.”
“I was a Skype Master Teacher and a Microsoft Global Learning Mentor,” the Carmel resident said. “The first Kahoot Cup had 10 classes from 10 countries, and it was amazing. It’s grown bigger each year.”
This year, more than 3,200 student players participated, and teachers from 52 countries registered for the event. The game is played on Zoom four times across four time slots.
“I start the game at 9 p.m. on Monday night in my house and that takes care of the many countries in the Far East. I wake up early and run the game again from my home on Tuesday morning at 6 a.m.,” Auslander said. “Then, I run it live from a fifth-grade class in my school at 9 a.m. and a final time at 1:40 p.m. with a second-grade class. This range in time slots allows many countries of the world to participate.”
In the past five years, Canada has won once, and Ireland and the U.S. have won twice. This year, a high school student from Los Angeles scored the highest and won the Kahoot Cup for the U.S.
After two years of COVID-19 restrictions, Auslander said the Kahoot Cup was a much-needed event.
“The Kahoot Cup is just so much fun. I love seeing photos and watching and hearing the videos of classes from all over the world cheering and enjoying my event,” he said. “I especially love hearing the students cheering for their classmates. After all of the COVID stress, kids and teachers deserve to have this fun time and also this important lesson.”
It’s a lesson that focuses on how much kids around the world are alike, despite different cultures and customs.
“I think with the many negative world events in the news today, this is a very important lesson. The kids represent their country. Their country name is in their Kahoot nickname,” Auslander said. “They wear country colors and hold their nation’s flags and they wave and cheer for each other. Again, it’s a fun and unifying event and it shows kids around the world we are more alike than different.”