Low-tech solutions to combat in-class hacking

By: | November 28, 2018

As the Kahoot game-based learning platform has gained popularity, so have student attempts to hack into the program.

Some students log in using fake names to bombard the teacher with distractions, to program bots to stop a quiz or to steal the answer key.

Others post their classroom quiz PINs to online forums so other students can join, or create inappropriate names that flash on device screens.

While these actions only constitute a small fraction of the activities conducted on Kahoot by more than 31 million students per month, they are nonetheless disruptive, says James Micklethwait, vice president of products for Kahoot.

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A team is updating software to separate in-class humans from bots.

A profanity filter now automatically replaces “bad” words with G-rated ones when students create nicknames. Teachers can turn on a nickname generator with only three name options if further deterrence is needed.

Kahoot’s engineers have also created a two-step login process that requires a personal identification number and a rapidly changing color sequence that can’t be tracked by bots or humans outside the classroom.

Teachers can also vary the games or adjust the difficulty of questions to boost student engagement, says Micklethwait.

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