“Who wants to be a Millionaire?” Quiz Rules

4 10 2009

This week’s World History through film class, an elective course, brought the first time implementation of “Who wants to be a millionaire?” quiz rules to Basalt High School.  I presented to idea to kids the week prior to the quiz when I also gave them the quiz review.  The rules are as follows:

20 Questions, Multiple Choice

1 Phone a friend, either one person from class or a family or friend outside of school.

1 Ask the audience where the class together votes on one question to talk about as a class.  Hence the class is the audience.

1 50/50, where the class chooses one question that I break down to a 50/50 chance.

The idea was not one that I can take credit for.  Learning to bring this type of innovation and motivation to the kids can be credited to a school in Australia, Presbyterian Ladies’ College at Croydon, where students are allowed to phone a friend and use ipods and the internet on exams.  The idea is in the pilot stages for the grade 9 English classes.   And in fact the idea came through a challenge by Marc Prensky, educational consultant and web 2.0 educational specialist.

Prensky said, “What if we allowed the use of mobile phones and instant messaging to collect information during exams, redefining such activity from ‘cheating’ to ‘using our tools and including the world in our knowledge base’?

“Our kids already see this on television. ‘You can use a lifeline to win $1 million,’ said one. ‘Why not to pass a stupid test?’ I have begun advocating the use of open phone tests … Being able to find and apply the right information becomes more important than having it all in your head.”

As a teacher in Colorado, this idea made since for me.  I want to increase student engagement and encourage problem solving skills as much as knowledge content.  The example of the phone a friend was made dully applicable this week in my own professional life as I went to my principal for a question regarding a particular professional pedagogic phrase.  When my boss couldn’t recall the phrase, what do you think he did?  That’s right, he phoned a friend, his wife.  This was exactly what I was trying to show my kids that they could accomplish through collaborative cultures and here was a real life example of this needed skill happening right at the same time I was implementing this new look at test taking.   The students ended up really liking the idea.  The conversation went deeper.  Students, felt more confident with the help of others, and they learned a true life problem solving skill.  This isn’t a way to cheat, this is a way to utilize our social and professional networks to increase productivity.  This is a 21st Century applicable real world skill.

Though many teachers will likely not approve this concept right away, the rules left way for students to still have to make decisions.  Who would they call?  Does this person know more than me on this subject?  Should I trust their advice?  These are questions students have to deal with in finding help to solving  their questions.

Read all about the Australian school here:


What do you think???  Please take a quick minute to add to my thesis research.  All information is anonymous unless you wish to be know.  You may also comment on this blog to help me understand your perspectives.

This is an original survey: Should students be able to use cell phones, the internet, or each other on a test?  Is this cheating???  Please take this survey to respond.

Who wants to be a millionaire? Quiz Rules Survey