SQLSaturday Orlando Notes – Kahoot

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The last two years we did Family Feud as part of our end of day gathering. Fun, exciting, and energetic are all words I’d use to describe it. Definitely a good way to end the day. If there’s a downside it’s that the audience is just that, watching but not participating. That’s not a huge negative, after a long day there is something to be said for just some simple fun.

This year Kendal proposed that we try Kahoot. If you haven’t tried it, basically you set up a series of questions ahead of time. Participants go to the web site and enter a code, no install needed on their phone, and they all get fun handles like ‘snarling lemur’. Everyone plays at the same time time. Questions are time boxed and multiple choice. Right answers earn points and answering fast(er) also affects the score, so you’re competing in real time.

We had four rounds. The first was a “learn how to play” round that still had a prize at the end. The questions were all various levels of SQL trivia. We struggled initially with connectivity, a different auditorium had really bad cell service, but propping the door open got us through. The rounds took longer than we expected, a combination of set up time, cell service issues, giving away prizes, etc. About 40 minutes total.

We had 85 people playing and it felt like everyone was enjoying participating. On each round we had a couple of early leaders that stayed in the lead, so something to keep in mind is to not make the questions too arcane – it’s a little less fun if you have no chance to win by the third of ten questions. Four rounds of ten questions ended up feeling like a little too much. If we try it again we’ll probably go with a shorter training round at least, maybe drop the main rounds to 8 questions instead of 10.

Worth noting that you need someone to set up the questions and MC the event. Kendal is one of the best at this, even had background music going!

Kahoot is free, sorta. It depends on how many players you have, but you’ll probably need to pay. The more or less unlimited license is $480 for a year, or $240 if you’re a not for profit. For us, $240 was a reasonable spend to try something new and we hope to use it at Meetups this coming year as well. Still, it’s not cheap. I wonder if PASS could negotiate an interesting benefit for events by talking to Kahoot (even if its just the option to license per event at a more affordable cost).

There’s a lot that could be explored here. Sponsored rounds (perhaps with questions about products from sponsors!), or rounds based on content during the day, or even an end of session quick quiz.

To me, the goal is to have some fun, give attendees one more reason to stay for the entire day, and do something that is fun and creative for the organizing team, all without being overly complicated. Both Family Feud and Kahoot met those goals in different ways and I’d do either of them again.

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