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Behind the Scenes: Rebuilding the Classroom Experience in Kiddom

Behind the Scenes: Rebuilding the Classroom Experience in Kiddom

Greetings, educators! In this article, get a sneak peek of the new classroom experience in Kiddom and hear from members of Kiddom's Product and Design teams on decisions behind the rebuild.

During the 2020-2021 school year, many teachers and students were catapulted into using technology for teaching and learning in new and different ways. While there were many challenges to this rapid shift to distance learning, there were also many lessons learned about how students and teachers interact with technology tools, and with each other, to facilitate learning.

In response to these shifts, Kiddom’s Product and Design teams dug into how teachers and learners have adapted their use of technology in and out of the classroom, with the hopes of putting their findings towards a new and improved experience. Today, they are excited to introduce a new interface for Kiddom users - the new Kiddom Classroom. Kiddom Classroom offers more, and more streamlined, ways for teachers to use Kiddom for classroom management, instruction, and assessment, supported by deeply integrated communication tools.

Here, we sat down with members of the team that worked on Kiddom Classroom to get their thoughts on how it came to be, what they’re most excited about, and how Kiddom will continue to empower learning.

Kiddom Product & Design Members

What was the inspiration for making a change to Kiddom’s UI?

James: When making any change to Kiddom we look at a number of things: quantitative metrics on how Kiddom is being used by teachers and students, qualitative feedback from current users and those around the education space, and by keeping up with educational trends in publications and communities.  Plus, while teachers and students spent so much more time using technology tools during the 2020-2021 school year than usual, we got a ton of great feedback on what was working and what wasn’t.  Based on what we were seeing, it was time for Kiddom to make some changes to better serve our users. 

Peter: One thing we saw was teachers trying to juggle teaching to two distinct audiences at one time as many teachers worked in a hybrid model - those in the physical classroom and those on a video-conferencing tool.  While that won’t be the norm going forward, having to manage those two distinct audiences brought about a host of challenges for teachers that gave us inspiration for how Kiddom could better serve teachers across all learning models. 

Multiple Class Assign

What can teachers and students expect from the new navigation and user experience?

Peter: Making changes to navigation always feels like a balancing act - we want to improve the experience while not changing things so significantly that it disrupts how users use Kiddom.  We had a few big things we wanted to accomplish in updating the navigation: making it easier to access key pages, consolidating navigation, and creating more space for content and assignments, especially on lo-res devices like Chromebooks or tablets.  

How did usage data drive the updates?

James: One of the most popular features that we rolled out during the last school year was Announcements - our usage metrics showed that many teachers were posting classroom updates, assignment news, and more using Announcements.  Because this was such a highly adopted feature, we knew we had to make it even better! Announcements are now viewable from multiple screens so students can see what’s going on in announcements, from wherever they’re working within Kiddom.  

Then, we knew that announcements needed to be able to do more.  We talked to teachers, looked at other technologies that students use, and thought about how classroom communication works  to see what else would be important to add.  We came up with a few key things. 

 

Drawing Assignment

Ben: Yeah!  Thinking about how communication works in classrooms really helped us decide where to focus our updates.  When a teacher makes an announcement in an in-person classroom, they see the students facial expressions and immediate reactions.  It lets the teacher have an immediate read of student responses.  We wanted to give teachers a similar “quick read” in the Kiddom Classroom so we added emoji reactions.  Students can react to an announcement with an emoji, giving teachers the ability to quickly see the class sentiment.  Plus, this kind of reaction option feels familiar to students - they use emojis to react in many of the other apps they use everyday.

 

Drawing Assignment

James: The other thing we dug into on announcements was how does classroom communication really work?  Our original announcements feature acted like one long continuous conversation.  

Ben: In digging in, we found that wasn’t really how in-class communication worked.  It’s not really one long conversation, but multiple conversations throughout the day.  To better represent this, we’ve added threaded commenting to Announcements.  This means that several conversations can be taking place at one time, on different topics. This is more in line with what happens in in-person classrooms and makes it easier to scroll back to a particular topic.  

You mentioned hybrid learning environments above, how did that inform this new design?

James: One thing that seems to have changed in education is the definition of “in class”.  Because there’s now a year of teachers and students teaching and learning from a variety of physical locations, it’s not outlandish to think that there may be more options in the future.  

Peter: Having grown up in New England, one of the worst things I heard was that there might not be snow days in the future!  Students will just fire up their learning tools from home when the weather is inclement.  This is great for continuity of learning but maybe not so great for making sledding memories! 

James: Well, sure. But if students need to stay home for, say, a cold or are staying at a grand-parents house for a few days, there should be options in place to help them keep up with their coursework.  This flexibility was top of mind when we worked on the redesign. 

Ben: The new Classroom view represents all the students in the classroom, with some activity markers - green if they’re active, and so on.  If the teacher is teaching in-person, there will be student avatars visible.  If the teacher is teaching remotely using our integrated video conferencing tool Kiddom Live, there will be student video feeds visible. If students are in multiple places, there will be a mix of avatars and video on the screen, helping teachers bridge the gaps when students are in multiple locations.  These synchronous tools work to redefine the “classroom”; rather than being a physical room, it’s a “place where learning occurs”.  

Drawing Assignment

 

If teachers or administrators have feedback, how can they let us know?

Peter: We’re always really excited to get feedback from teachers!  When you log into Kiddom, you’ll start to see quick some surveys about Kiddom.  You can also join our Educator Brain Trust, a group of teachers who we regularly reach out to for feedback.  Or, you can always work with your CSM to schedule a feedback session with one of us!

Kiddom seamlessly connects the most critical aspects of teaching and learning on one platform.

For the first time, educators can share and manage digital curriculum, differentiate instruction, and assess student work in one platform with integrated tools for communication.

 

Thinking about bringing Kiddom to your school or district?

Connect with us in a 15-minute meeting to learn more about available pre-packaged curriculum by Open Up Resources, and how the Kiddom education platform can support your learning community.

Keep Reading...

The Best of Teacher TikTok, Part 2

The Best of Teacher TikTok, Part 2

Jennifer Levanduski

Jennifer Levanduski

Head of Marketing, Kiddom

Jennifer is Kiddom's head of marketing, a first generation college student, and forever grateful for the excellent K-12 public school education she received.

For this week's Feel Good Friday post, we bring you more fun Teacher TikTok accounts to follow.

#TeacherTikTok continues to be the very best part of the internet.

So full of educators sharing their classroom experience, tips & tricks, and so much more. Everybody loved The Latest and Greatest on Teacher TikTok so much that we knew we had to do a part 2!

Here’s another batch of our favorites! Consider it guilt-free scrolling; it is, after all, work related:

@Formerlyemoteacher AKA Bucky

Formerlyemoteacher takes station rotation to the next level on days when her students seem burnt out. She gives options for making up missed assignments, getting creative, and expressing gratitude. This feels like it should be an end of year staple!

@Mrwilliamsprek AKA Mr. Williams

Mrwilliamsprek (inventor of the “pre-k pause!”) shows an awesome app to bring artwork to life for students of all ages.  Bringing classic works to life with 2021 technology? Sign us up!

@Mslangkau AKA Mallory Langkau

Mslangkau lets one of her students to the talking when asked about Teacher Appreciation Week.  (I feel like that student should get some extra credit?)

@Thenewkiddinator AKA Anna

Thenewkiddinator is out here doing the most to make sure that her students are sent off in style at the end of each year! And, she notes, that not everyone has it in them to do the most and provides a bunch of options to make this VIP program as simple or complicated as you like.

@thenewkiddinator

Aye @tiktok can you upload my video correctly this time 🙃

♬ original sound - Anna

@The_mr_stiner1 AKA Steven Steiner

The_mr_stiner1 shows how his school honors graduates (and gets some free interior design in the process!)

@Mrv_history AKA Mr. Vlahakis

Mrv_history shows off his style and gives me flashbacks to AP US History by creatively communicating how to construct a DBQ response.

@Chemicalkim AKA "Chemical Kim"

Chemicalkim thinks that you shouldn’t have to choose between a science project and an art project - she has a great activity that does both!

@Theconsicouslee AKA "Conscious Lee"

Theconsicouslee tells his students everyday that, “Education is elevation,” and puts that to good use with an activity having students construct a thesis statement and conduct research about “a hustle” - giving them the foundations for entrepreneurship as high school freshman!

@theconsciouslee

9th and 10th grade English about to be lit

♬ original sound - Conscious Lee

And Finally, @beard_al! 

And, beard_al pulls off perhaps the greatest prank on his students. Ever.

@beard_al

wait to see my student's reaction. I lost it at the end 😂 #aprilfools #teachersoftiktok #science101 #subway

♬ original sound - Beard Al

Did we miss any Teacher TikTok stars?

Let us know in the comments below and we will add them to the list!

And, as always, happy teaching and learning!

Kiddom seamlessly connects the most critical aspects of teaching and learning on one platform.

For the first time, educators can share and manage digital curriculum, differentiate instruction, and assess student work in one place. Learners can take assessments online, see student performance data with the click of a button, and teachers have the insight and tools they need to create individual learning paths.

 

Ready to bring digital curriculum to your school or district?

Connect with us in a 15-minute meeting to learn more about available pre-packaged curriculum, and how the Kiddom education platform can support your learning community.

You might also be interested in these articles:

New Features for Assignments and Kiddom Live

New Features for Assignments and Kiddom Live

The best way to show our appreciation for teachers is to launch new features that have come directly from educator feedback!

Kiddom has declared May "Teacher Appreciation Month" (because one week just wasn’t enough!) and while we have a full agenda of teacher spotlights and giveaways planned, the best way to show our appreciation for teachers is to launch new features that have come directly from educator feedback!

The Kiddom team gathers feedback in a number of ways - though our CSM team, by monitoring our support tickets, by asking our Brain Trust, and feedback sessions, to name a few. When we looked at data from this past spring, there were a couple of features we knew would bring a smile to teachers’ faces. So we’re delivering them now, as a Teacher Appreciation gift!

Here's the full list of new features:

  • Student Preview
  • New Assignment Features
  • Kiddom Live Moderation Tools

Read on to learn about each feature in greater detail!

Student Preview

One question that teachers often ask when building out their lessons is, “But what will this look like for my students?” Curriculum and lesson design is such meaningful work, where educators plan for students to make meaningful connections with concepts by taking them on a deliberate journey of content, instruction, and assessment. The ability to see what this journey will look like while building out lessons helps educators understand that student journey and identify gaps and pain points.

Now, educators can see lessons from the student perspective using the new student preview button. With one click, the student experience opens in a new tab, making it easy to see what students will see while the lessons are being built.

In addition, this helps teachers answer students’ troubleshooting questions - they’ve seen the student experience to better answer questions on where to find what.

Multiple Class Assign

New Assignment Options

Kiddom’s Content Library allows teachers to easily find a variety of vetted, standards-aligned materials and save them to their My Content. Now, teachers can assign these materials directly from both My Content and the Content Library with the click of a button!

Drawing Assignment

From any resource in Kiddom, click Assign, select the class, classes, group, or groups to assign it to, and then it’s immediately ready for students. This new quick assign button saves time when assigning supplemental content and makes it easier to connect students with standards-aligned resources and assignments. This also makes the My Content section even more valuable! Save favorite resources to use for later then assign with one click.

Kiddom Live Moderation Tools

Kiddom Live provides the ability to run synchronous virtual classes - and now those classes are easier than ever to moderate. Kiddom Live has added a number of tools for live class moderation: central access to camera and microphone settings, student ability to raise hands and teacher ability to lower them, mute options, and multiple screen layouts. Additionally, Kiddom Live sessions can now be recorded, making it easy to share class recordings for students to review. To learn more about adding Kiddom Live to your classroom, chat with your Customer Success Manager.

These features are now available in Kiddom to try out and use! If you have feedback on your experience with Kiddom or would like to inform the next round of Kiddom features, join our Brain Trust!

Thank you for all that you do - and enjoy these feedback-driven features as a small token of our gratitude for Teacher Appreciation Month.

Kiddom seamlessly connects the most critical aspects of teaching and learning on one platform.

For the first time, educators can share and manage digital curriculum, differentiate instruction, and assess student work in one platform with integrated tools for communication.

 

Thinking about bringing Kiddom to your school or district?

Connect with us in a 15-minute meeting to learn more about available pre-packaged curriculum by Open Up Resources, and how the Kiddom education platform can support your learning community.

Keep Reading...

The Latest and Greatest on Teacher TikTok

The Latest and Greatest on Teacher TikTok

Jennifer Levanduski

Jennifer Levanduski

Head of Marketing, Kiddom

Jennifer is Kiddom's head of marketing, a first generation college student, and forever grateful for the excellent K-12 public school education she received.

Have you been to the coolest virtual faculty room? It’s #TeacherTikTok.

March 2020 feels like such a long time ago, when shelter-in-place or stay-at-home orders first started. And while there have been no shortage of words written about the challenges that the shift to remote or hybrid work and learning brought (some of them right here on this blog!), I want to focus on something else that came out of the pandemic - new hobbies.

According to the internet, everyone picked up at least one new hobby in the last year. Whether that was baking bread, doing puzzles, making all sorts of holiday decor with items found at the Dollar Tree, or cultivating useful skills through online classes - everyone got up to something new this year. Me? I got way into TikTok.

TikTok is a video-sharing social media platform where creators share a variety of short-form (up to one minute) videos across a variety of genres. The thing that’s amazing about TikTok is their algorithm - whether you like cover songs, fantasy football fun facts, holiday design inspo, stand-up comedy, political commentary, Broadway behind the scenes, or…. I mean, anything, really, TikTok will get you figured out and serve you content that seems so specifically curated, just for you!

So, obviously, I found my way on over to #TeacherTikTok (or #TeacherTok or #TeachersOfTikTok - there doesn’t seem to be a clear hashtag consensus), where there is a huge community of dedicated, passionate educators sharing classroom stories, tech tips, classroom management strategies, and everything in between. It has been amazing to see this slice of life, to hear from teachers in their own words what teaching and learning has been like this year.

In no particular order, here are some of my favorites:

@hosdiggity AKA "Coach Hoss"

hosdiggity shows how he gave a true or false quiz but with a bit of ...spice – by changing the answers to cap or no cap (no cap being current slang for “I’m not lying”). Meeting students where they are, demonstrating how language can evolve, and having fun? Such a cool idea!

@hosdiggity

#teacher #teachersoftiktok #nocap #cap #GroupChat @mr.coach_cj gave me the idea! #teachers what have you tried lately?

♬ original sound - Coach Hoss

@viv.teacher.tech AKA Vivian Casillas

viv.teacher.tech shares a soundboard she found online to spice up her virtual class; using sound effects during class seems like a great way to make sure students are engaged and having fun.

@mskimmyr3 AKA "Ms. Kim"

mskimmyyr3 tells her one in a million story of textbook procurement, It’s better if you listen to her tell it, I promise.

@vividmichael AKA "Mr. Talcott"

Vividmichael, who taught kindergarten virtually (!!) counted down his top 10 virtual teaching TikTok moments and showed that he really did the MOST all year long.

@vividmichael

🤟❤️ to u all friends - what a weird year 😘

♬ Home - Edith Whiskers

@mc_choir AKA Patrick McGuire

mc_choir hopped on the sea shanty trend and wrote a killer parody about the wifi being down. (But really, can somebody fix it? He’s got grading to do!)

@pdronberger AKA Preston Dronberger

pdronberger shared a really nice story about running into a former student. (Note to self: maybe instead of TikTok, your quarantine hobby should have been thank you emails to some of your favorite teachers.)

@brian_sepe_ AKA Brian Sepe

brian_sepe shares a very cool (free!) activity to foster critical thinking, writing, and challenging assumptions.

And Finally, @honestteachervibes! 

And finally, honestteachervibes has a message for all teachers.

Did we miss any Teacher TikTok stars?

Let us know in the comments below and we will add them to the list!

And, as always, happy teaching and learning!

 

Kiddom seamlessly connects the most critical aspects of teaching and learning on one platform.

For the first time, educators can share and manage digital curriculum, differentiate instruction, and assess student work in one place. Learners can take assessments online, see student performance data with the click of a button, and teachers have the insight and tools they need to create individual learning paths.

 

Ready to bring digital curriculum to your school or district?

Connect with us in a 15-minute meeting to learn more about available pre-packaged curriculum, and how the Kiddom education platform can support your learning community.

You might also be interested in these articles: