Quizlet’s First Product for the Classroom Is Live


Quizlet’s First Product for the Classroom Is Live

By Blake Montgomery     Apr 12, 2016

Quizlet’s First Product for the Classroom Is Live

“Aaaaaaand we’re live!” —Quizlet, probably

That’s a fictional (but possible) quote from Quizlet’s San Francisco headquarters on the morning of April 12, when the company released Quizlet Live, its first product aimed at classroom use. The game asks students to compete in teams to answer questions from any of Quizlet’s 100 million sets of study questions. Teachers select the questions and view the results on their screen. The game is available for free on computers and tablets.

Team members must collaborate across multiple choices to find the correct answer to the question.
The right answer for the question above is Papua New Guinea, so it’s my fault that we didn’t answer this question correctly. If my teammates weren’t artificial intelligence, this might be an example of too little collaboration between us.
In an effort to prioritize accuracy over alacrity, the game forces students to wait to reenter the game after a wrong answer and undoes their eliminated choices, making it harder to guess.

Why release the game now? The feature arises from noticeable trends in Quizlet’s data. “We saw spikes in usage during the middle of the day when students and teachers were in the classroom and then at night when students were studying,” Quizlet founder and CTO Andrew Sutherland said. Quizlet’s other features are designed to be used as after school study aids, but Sutherland said that as much as half of Quizlet’s use occurs when teachers and students are together.

In a press release, Sutherland also highlighted the shift in Quizlet’s focus from one student to the whole class. “Shared learning experiences—especially when created or recommended by peers—matter,” he said. “We wanted to bring our same success in individual study tools into the classroom to give teachers more ways to engage with students.” He hopes that Quizlet Live will foster in-person collaboration and discussion.

The release is just a piece of Quizlet’s growth. In 2015, the company raised a $12 million Series A round, expanded from 14 to 38 people, and breached the ranks of the top 50 sites on the Internet. Sutherland hinted at new releases coming soon. “This is the first of many classroom games you’ll see from us, some free, some freemium, some priced,” he said.

Sutherland claims that Quizlet beta tested the new feature with 20,000 teachers and 500,000 students, and he hopes to continue to incorporate teacher and student feedback. “I like student voice in edtech,” he said. “I hope Quizlet can enable classroom collaboration. That’s why we mandated weekly classroom visits in 2015. They’re essential.”

Jennifer Santiago, a French teacher at Lansing Middle School in New York, had already been using Quizlet, but after she began beta testing Quizlet Live, she started utilizing it in a new way.

“I used to use Quizlet, the regular version, if I was going to be absent,” Santiago said. “It was a good vocabulary review tool. Students would use my sets of questions or their own to work individually during class. Now that I can have them review in groups, it makes a whole new classroom dynamic.”

She also saw her students’ engagement rise.

“I’ve had the laptop cart in my classroom for a number of reasons,” Santiago said. “But this is the first time that students have come in asking to play a review game. They get really disappointed if we’re not playing Quizlet Live.”

She’s seen her students become unexpectedly excited about, of all things, test review.

“Before I had no idea if they were reviewing, and I assumed they weren’t,” Santiago said. “Now a lot of my students practice beforehand so they can win the Quizlet Live review. I didn’t ask my students to share their feedback on the tool with me, but I have yet to meet a student who doesn’t love it.”

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