In this special guest post by Dubai based educator Tom Edge, he shares how he has used the Class Kick app successfully in his classroom throughout the last school year.
Classkick is a clever app designed to share tasks, assignments and activities between students and teachers in a paperless classroom. Using 1 to 1 iPads, a teacher can view all of the students screens on theirs in real time, observing progress through activities, managing support when needed and helping with the planning and assessment of lessons and learners.
The real benefit from using this app is that the feedback quality increases and the speed, decreases, with the teacher available at the touch of a button or able to facilitate anonymous peer assistance. Like with any app, the main functions provide a platform for use, but I have found many ways that this app can be deployed in a creative, effective and engaging classroom.
They didn't call it Classkick for nothing.
Managing Classkick in the classroom
Originally, when my class and I were just playing with the app, I used it for a Maths lesson where the students were working through the challenges. Each page was a different challenge and they became progressively harder. On my screen I could see the students working through the challenges and observe when they needed assistance. From that point, I set up either peered teaching, instant feedback from the iPad or I ran small workshops on the carpet.
The classroom transformed from a student and iPad engaged atmosphere to a dynamic classroom where feedback was facilitated to everyone who required it at an instant. With each task I also attached extra resources to ensure the learners would achieve without the need of assistance. At the end of the lesson, I could see everyone's progress on my iPad. I was astounded. Not just at the progress made, but all the marking I had to take home was in my hand.
As mentioned above, the main functions of the app provide a platform, but how it is used in the class can enhance the quality of teaching and learning. I now use it as an AfL tool before lessons or topics, a tool to assess what has been learnt, a tool for homework and a tool to plan for writing assessments or any other assignments the students have. I would recommend playing with it as these are just my experiences. I am sure there are many more creative ways it could be used.
Admittedly, I have only used this app in Year Six and have enjoyed experimenting with the range of activities. Some have worked... some haven't. However, these have been the most effective:
* Comprehension questions
* Spelling tests
* Maths tasks
* SPAG development
* Organising Science investigations
* Up-leveling sentences
* Planning for assessments
There are so many ways of using this app to engage learners into a versatile classroom. I would love to walk into a KS1 class and see it being used for phonics or drawing. I recently asked one of my students why they love using technology; her response, "The world is changing quicker than we know, it's better being on the front foot rather than the back. Plus, it's fun!" Definitely a case for introducing mobile tech to learners at a young age.
Here's an excellent example of how a teacher in The States has used ClassKick to create a collaborative learning environment:
Benefits for Teachers
This app allows the teacher to be organised with resources and select content from anywhere they like, allowing students to have their own unlimited whiteboard to annotate, create or respond to tasks. With the paperless system, planning time is reduced, feedback is easier and making resources is extremely easy with the variety of media that can be shared. Obviously this app is used when needed, but it is a great method of engaging students and providing an interactive pathway for learning that is easy to manage.
Benefits for Learners
Over the course of the year, I have found that the students have loved this app and way of learning. Some even suggest ways it can be used which really helps me out when planning for the next series of lessons.
With this in mind, the 3 main reasons why students benefit are:
- Progress can be made at their own pace and students can choose the activities that they want to complete: differentiation in the form of choice demonstrates knowledge, understanding and awareness of ability... it also generates more engagement and enthusiasm!!
- Some learners love assistance and feedback while others feel shy. This app allows learners who do feel shy the chance to seek assistance anonymously. It is always nice to see the quiet smirk on a face when they have accessed knowledge without anyone knowing who they stole it from.
- Feedback at home has been incredibly useful. It doesn't take long for the student to ask for help or to provide a student with support. The impact at home has been just as impressive as the results in the classroom.
Overall, this app has assisted in a push to a more dynamic, resourceful, paper friendly and interactive classroom. Teaching and learning is always evolving and changing. We are using more technology now than we have ever before. Schools are nurturing confident learners who grasp tech quicker than teachers. I enjoy watching students demonstrate new apps and how they are used. However, another shift I think we are still to make in teaching and learning is the presentation and evidence of work completed on computers or mobile devices. We print and stick work in for evidence. In my opinion, it is a waste of paper and has very little impact on the progress and attainment of students. With apps such as Classkick, we can move forward and present work, with feedback, on mobile devices as evidence. We can use our time wisely to ensure that the focus is on the assessing, teaching and planning cycle that is at the heart of the job. Classkick allows teachers to make the most out of resources, engage learners in a 21st century classroom and facilitate personalised and instant feedback to the students when they need it.