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Kiddom and Microsoft Office 365: Better Together

Kiddom and Microsoft Office 365: Better Together

Microsoft Office 365 and Kiddom: A Perfect Combination for Collaboration.

Kiddom and Microsoft Office 365 are a powerful combination for teachers looking to enhance collaboration in their classrooms. With MS O365’s collaborative editing features and Kiddom’s ability to assign groups of students assignments independently from the rest of the class, you have a project-based learning match made in heaven.

 

Check out the step-by-step process below to get started.

Step One: Use Office 365 to create an assignment

1. Teachers will have to make an assignment for each grouping of students and a document for each of those groupings.

2. Make sure sharing permissions (able to edit) are set appropriately in each Office Doc/Sway/Etc.

 

Step Two: Create a Playlist With Kiddom

1. Create a Playlist in your Kiddom Planner for the activity you want students to collaborate on, add all the necessary documents from O365 to each assignment (Pro-Tip: Less is more! Add multiple O365 documents to each assignment so you can reduce the amount of assignments on the screen.)

2. After creating your project playlist and adding all the necessary files, you can drag and drop the assignments to Timeline from Planner and assign them to each student group.

Now your students can collaborate in O365 and keep all of their documents in one location for you to monitor and provide feedback.  The coolest part is that you can provide private, individual feedback to each student in the group using Kiddom’s commenting feature. So your students can collaborate away in their Word Doc, but you can use Kiddom to discuss individual student work privately with each student in the group. Pretty awesome right?

Be sure to check out part 2 of Kiddom and Microsoft: Better Together — in which we investigate how to add the power of Kiddom Reports to your Office 365 assignments (and beyond!).

Are you ready to get started with Kiddom? Check out our free video demo and to see more of the great things Kiddom can do for you and your students!

Introducing Guardian Access—Bringing Families Closer to Their Child’s Education

Introducing Guardian Access—Bringing Families Closer to Their Child’s Education

A new Kiddom Academy feature helps parents and guardians better understand what their children are learning at school.

 

What Can Technology Offer Students and Families?

Many parents believe technology in the classroom will be helpful for their children’s education — in fact, 86% do, according to a recent study by Microsoft and YouGov.

The truth is, there’s a lot of debate around the subject. One study has seen very different results for technology-enabled personalized learning (Rand), with vast gains in an earlier report (2015) but only slight gains of late (2017). In “Technology Doesn’t Drive Blended Learning … or Does It?” author Thomas Arnett visits five blended-learning schools and concludes, among other perks, that “although technology is not the driving force behind student learning at these schools, it amplifies the real driving force: high-quality teaching.”

In a study by the Christensen Institute, authors Michael B. Horn and Julia Freeland Fisher acknowledge that the current research cycle is incomplete. Their analysis is an insightful attempt to move past the what to the why. At best, they argue, integrating tech into our schools means that schools can begin to “move from a one-size-fits-all approach to a student-centered one. Teachers can gain a far more precise understanding of how individual students are progressing and provide them with just-in-time materials and supports suited to their needs and strengths.”

At Kiddom, we believe this understanding should extend to parents and guardians, which is why we are proud to announce a new feature to do just that. With Guardian Access, available exclusively to schools and districts using Kiddom Academy, parents and guardians will automatically receive a weekly update to shed light on how their child is performing in school, the skills they’re learning, and where their child needs support.

Each weekly update includes two reports: an Assignments report and a Standards report, as well as the overall achievement level in a class.

We’ll cover each report in more length below, but before we do, let’s briefly revisit the practice standards-based grading, since many parents and guardians might have children that are in schools that are new or transitioning to this instructional practice (feel free to skip the next section if you’re already familiar with standards-based grading).

What is standards-based grading and how does it impact my child?

Having technology in the classroom isn’t the end-all, be-all — you can’t expect a hammer to build a roof. However, useful technology can give parents, teachers, and students the right tools to measure a student’s progress accurately. It enables all parties involved to participate in an ongoing, active quality check of their student’s education, with the power to quickly identify a trend change in real time — and to react quickly with intervention or encouragement.

To add to this change in the way we measure, an important shift is forming in what we measure. Many modern classrooms are adopting a system called standards-based grading, or mastery-based learning. This approach is a creature of many names: you’ll hear the words skillsstandardsproficiency or competency-based learning — all of these terms represent the shift towards measuring student progress according to specific, measurable skills. Students are encouraged to focus on that skill or standard until they have shown that they’ve mastered it, often with several attempts, before moving on.

Mastery-based reporting requires a different mindset (and practice) than that used with traditional grades. The goal is not to be an A-student, but to demonstrate mastery of skills, and move on when you’re ready. Most students will not reach the level called “exceeding”; if they do, this might mean that they’re not being challenged enough, and may need to move on to the next grade-level competencies. For more on this, check out this Guardian Access support article.

What this means for you and your child, and why Kiddom is useful

What this means is that the student is able to understand their own achievement in terms of what they are progressing in. As you can imagine, this new approach carries the discussion a lot further than the traditional report card, where a child and parent are offered some grade letter or percentage that doesn’t mean much more than “pass” or “fail,” and certainly doesn’t provide much in terms of actionable insight.

With Kiddom, students are always on top of, not just how they’re progressing, but which specific standards or skills they are excelling in, and which they need to improve. In short, they’re able to articulate and take ownership of their own learning, and pull their parents into the details with confidence.

As mentioned, another way technology is shaping modern parenting is the ability to access progress in real-time — you don’t need to wait around for six weeks to see a report card of grades too late to fix. Now, parents are able to stay in the know and help their children work on the areas where they need improvement, from the onset of when a student starts slipping.

At the top of both reports, you’ll get a general assessment of your students’ achievement for a given class. If your teacher uses standards based grading, you will see one of the four terms: Developing, Approaching, Mastery, or Exceeds. For more information on the breakdown of those terms, see this page. You can use this to understand you child’s development aligned to a skill.

Let’s take a look at the two types of reports available via Guardian Access:

Assignment Reports. The assignment report was designed to help parents and students with accountability. This report helps answer: What does my student need to complete? How is my child doing for their assignments? How are they doing for a particular assignment type? The focus is on how they performed for that piece of work, rather than the standard. This particular report gives you more details for the actual assignment, rather than the standards the assignment aligns to. This allows you to track what your student is doing in class, see the attached standard labels to each assignment, and note the student’s mastery level according to that particular assessment.

Standards Reports. The standard report helps answer: What is my child learning? What is their progress? You will notice that you will still see an average performance for all of the standards assessed. This is a snapshot of how your student is doing overall. Additionally, you will find details on the specific standards that your student is working on: it will show the standard label, description, and their mastery level for that particular standard.

We believe this alignment can make parent-teacher conferences much more effective, especially if students are able to drive the conversation about what they’re learning.

Key takeaways

1. The field of education is still in discovery mode to determine the best ways to use technology appropriately in the classroom, but a few proven uses are the abilities to measure progress in real-time, and to enhance the power of teachers.

2. As teachers and learners ease into more individualized, student-centric learning approaches, the role of parents and guardians is also evolving.

3. Kiddom’s new feature Guardian Access enables parents with greater access to their children’s progress, allowing them to:

A. Give students individualized feedback; congratulating them on the exact skills they’ve learned or providing support as they approach understanding of a standard.

B. Monitor student achievement in real-time, and help students take action before grades are “finalized.”

C. Allow students to take more ownership of their grades, developing self-management skills.

At Kiddom, we’re focused on delivering value to every stakeholder involved in a child’s education. As we work toward our mission, we’re excited to help even more teachers, students, parents and guardians, and schools achieve the wonderful things that were previously thought impossible.

Happy teaching and learning! 💜


Are you a school leader who needs a better tool to help inform and serve parents, guardians, teachers, and students? Does your grade book do a meaningful job in explaining your students’ strengths and areas to grow? Talk to our school success team about Kiddom Academy today.

Are you a teacher interested in using Kiddom for search-by-standard lesson planning, teacher collaboration, personalized assignments, student communication, and real-time assessment and reporting? You can still do all of these things with our free app. Sign up here.

Kiddom and Google: Better Together, Pt. III

Kiddom and Google: Better Together, Pt. III

If you are using Google Drive or Classroom, you know Google just updated the student and teacher experience. What’s great about these updates is that the Google and Kiddom combination is even more powerful than before. Check out this list of awesome things that Kiddom and Google can do together.

Note: This is Pt. 3 of our 3-part series on how Kiddom and Google work better together. Be sure to also check out Pt. 1 on Helping Students Track and Act on Progress and Pt. 2 on Transforming Drive Folders Into Organized Curriculum.

With new updates to both Kiddom’s platform and Google Classroom, there are many perks to using them together. The biggest one? Increasing student ownership by providing students access to reports and progress throughout the school year. Here are a couple of ways you can maximize your Google Drive and Kiddom experience:

Student-Teacher-Parent Conferences

While Google Drive and Classroom can certainly provide you the ability to get assignments and grades out to students and their parents, Kiddom gives you the additional benefit of illustrating the progress of each student in your class throughout a school year.kiddom

Often, when parent-teacher conferences come around, we often find ourselves trying to explain what getting an 88%, a 95%, or a 72% means. Kiddom allows students and parents to understand, in competencies, the progress being made in class. With standards-based grading reports, Kiddom takes a percentage grade and creates an easy to understand, written, explanation of student progress.

Kiddom’s reports break down a student’s progress standard by standard, so you can truly differentiate instruction for your students and they’ll have a better understanding of why they are receiving certain tasks and assignments beyond just the “I have a 72% so I’m being remediated” mentality.

Where does this all lead? When the time comes to sit down with parents, your students can take the lead in discussing their progress and their weaknesses. That’s why combining Google and Kiddom is such a great choice.

Project-Based Learning:

When you have the power to assign standards to individual student work or group work, you’re taking PBL to the next level by allowing the inquiry and problem solving required of students to flourish. As students get more and more comfortable in a PBL environment, they come to understand the standards being addressed in your class, and they take more ownership throughout the year: They will be the ones tacking standards onto their projects, based on what they know they demonstrated. Or they might choose a project and a standard set because they know they struggle with those skills.

Think about it: Let’s say you assign students an essential question for PBL. The next step would be to show them the standards that would be addressed for this specific unit. But what if you ask them to choose how they will complete the project by assigning themselves standards and competencies? You could have the following criteria:

1. Ask students to choose at least three standards from this particular unit that they want to focus on in their project.

2. Two standards should be areas in which they feel they will excel.

3. One standard should be an area in which they know they might be weak.

4. Students can explain their rationale for picking these standards in the pre-work and brainstorming phase of their project. This helps students hone their metacognitive skills while they prepare to complete the project.

This is just one way you can have students choose standards, but really it’s up to you and your students to find the best combination of standards assignments. You might even want to assign everyone in the class a certain standard while allowing students to pick a few others they want to incorporate into a project. Regardless of how you do it, providing students with the opportunity to practice inquiry and metacognition is an added bonus when you use Kiddom alongside Google.

Assignment Submission Super-Charged:

In Classroom, students can certainly submit written assignments to their teacher, but what about videos, PDFs, podcasts, pictures, etc.? With Kiddom, students can not only submit the written parts of their assignments, but they can also submit multimedia and other content that goes along with it; all in one dropbox per assignment. That’s pretty awesome, right?

 

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With Google Drive integration, students don’t even have to move their files in order to attach them to an assignment in Kiddom. They just need to connect their school Google accounts with their Kiddom accounts and they have a direct connection to all of their work, all the time. And you can easily grade any type of multimedia straight from the Kiddom app using our built-in rubrics or your own custom rubrics. Not only that, but just like everything in Kiddom, it’s fully customizable for each student. You can attach a rubric, attach a set of standards, or add a student goal for any number of students at one time (all the way down to a case-by-case basis).

Using Kiddom along with Google Apps helps take your classroom to the next level of ownership; it allows students to choose what types of files to submit, how they will submit, and what needs to be submitted in order to receive credit and show progress on the skills being tested. Not only that, but Kiddom’s built-in rubrics make grading Drive assignments even simpler than before.

 

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And that concludes our 3-part series on how Kiddom and Google work better together. Be sure to check out Pt. 1 on Helping Students Track and Act on Progress and Pt. 2 on Transforming Drive Folders Into Organized Curriculum.

 


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Written by: Sarah Gantert, Success Specialist

Kiddom and Google: Better Together, Pt. II

Kiddom and Google: Better Together, Pt. II

Note: This is Pt. 2 of our 3-part Kiddom and Google: Better Together series. To catch up on Pt. 1, click here: Helping Students Track and Act on Progress.

Google Drive provides you with an easy way to share content and assignments with students, but what both Drive and Classroom are missing is the ability to craft and share reusable curriculum with your colleagues. Adding Kiddom to your Google Drive tool belt does just that. Read on to find out how!

Power Tip #2: Transforming Drive Folders Into Organized Curriculum

While Classroom is a great way to push assignments and materials out to your students, you’ve probably noticed that you can’t build truly cohesive curriculum there. At the very most, Classroom provides you with an elaborate system of folder organization in your Drive, but that hardly passes as a usable, scalable, curriculum.

This is where Kiddom comes to the rescue: You can not only build a curriculum with your Drive assignments using our built-in Planner, but you can also add content from other content providers as well. The best part? It’s not just a random collection of assignments in folders. You can create units, attach standards, and drag and drop assignments to different classes when necessary.

 

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Do you have a Drive file you want to use along with a online content? Go ahead and attach the Drive material to your assignment and add the link to the website. Now you’re actually creating a curriculum you can use, tweak, and share, year after year. That’s not something that Classroom can do on its own.

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Sharing your Curriculum

Classroom and Kiddom both allow you to add collaborators to your classes, but the real super-charge to your teaching will come from using Kiddom in combination with Classroom. Reason? When you share a class with a colleague, you’re also sharing the curriculum you built in Planner as well.

With Kiddom’s Planner, it’s a lot easier to share and use each other’s assignments. When you share a class with another teacher, teaching assistant, or classroom aid, you give them access to all the Planner materials you’ve created. This goes far beyond the ability to simply share folders in Drive (what Classroom does).

 

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The biggest perk of coupling Kiddom’s Planner with Drive? The colleagues you share your curriculum with can use the assignments whenever they want, at any time of the year (or next year). They can also modify and adapt those assignments without it impacting your own classes. Pretty amazing, right?

Once you’ve shared your curriculum, your colleagues can easily drag and drop content from your curriculum into their own courses. This makes co-planning with your team more flexible and streamlined; you don’t even have to be in the same room (or the same school!) to do it.

 

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Planning Across Grade Levels for Student Success

One of the perks of using Kiddom with Drive is Kiddom allows you to see your curriculum in a succinct and user-friendly format. One of the biggest challenges of using Classroom on its own is the fact that you can only see groupings of assignments listed by topic, but it doesn’t provide you with the standards and competencies that your students are working on throughout any given school year. The other problem? It doesn’t allow colleagues teaching other grade levels to understand what the students in your class are doing.

With Kiddom, you’ll be sharing not only the assignments and assessments you’ve created but also the standards that you’ve aligned to them. Colleagues in your department or school can see what’s happening in your class and you can all work together to create a more consistent, rigorous curriculum.

At one of our pilot schools in Marshall County, Kentucky, teachers have shifted their planning from one-size-fits-all instruction to a competency-based framework that allows for student choice in demonstrating mastery through authentic projects. They create basic templates for projects, like journal prompts for observing new cultures on a family vacations, or lab analysis questions for chemistry experiments in Google Drive, and attach them to assignments in Kiddom’s Planner. When they’re ready for students to work on a particular project, any of the teacher facilitators in this flexible learning environment can drag and drop the appropriate assignments to students’ timelines, and then add the unique details for each student in the automatically created copies in Drive.

Marshall County really helps to illustrate that Kiddom and Google are better together! Kiddom’s curriculum planning and sharing takes what you are doing in Google Apps and makes your curriculum accessible, shareable, and scalable. How’s that for a “power couple”?

Note: This is Pt. 2 of our 3-part series on how Kiddom and Google work better together. Be sure to also check out Pt. 1 on Helping Students Track and Act on Progress and Pt. 3 for a list of 3 More Ways Google and Kiddom are Better Together.

 


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Written by: Sarah Gantert, Success Specialist

 

Starting to feel like Kiddom and Drive are a winning combination but want to learn more? If you missed it, check out last week’s tip or ask us a question on our help desk! We’re always standing by to help.

Kiddom and Google: Better Together, Pt. I

Kiddom and Google: Better Together, Pt. I

Are you using Google Classroom, but spending an inordinate amount of time grading and helping students understand their progress? This is where a tool like Kiddom can come to your rescue! Over the course of the next few weeks, we’ll be sharing pro tips for power users seeking to take their use of education technology to the next level.

Pro Tip #1: Helping Students Track and Act on Progress

You might be using Google Classroom and wondering, “Why would I want to transfer my assignments into Kiddom?” To make sense of this, consider the following questions:

  1. Do I have access to a gradebook in Google Classroom?
  2. Can I track individual student progress on standards in Google Classroom?
  3. Do students have access to progress reports in Google Classroom?

Your answers to these three questions are probably no.

While Google Classroom provides a great way for students to receive content, it doesn’t (yet) provide a way for students to measure their progress and therefore, take some ownership over their learning experience.

By using Kiddom’s Google Drive integration, you can take everything you’ve set up in Google Classroom and transfer it to Kiddom’s Planner; doing this provides you and your students access to progress reports that they wouldn’t otherwise have in Google Classroom.

Unlike using Google Drive and Classroom, with Kiddom you don’t have to download multiple third-party apps in order for it to give you the classroom intelligence and reporting that you and your students need. It’s all housed within the Kiddom K-12 operating system.

Giving Google Drive a Standards-Based Boost

Does your school or state require your assessments be standards-aligned? You probably noticed there is no standards tracking in Google Classroom or Drive. That’s again where Kiddom comes in: you can attach your Drive assessments to Kiddom assignments, attach relevant standards, and voila: you’re now tracking student progress while using all the material you already created in Drive. The best part? It’s all in one place!

How do you attach and grade standards with your Drive assignments? Check out these three easy steps below:

 

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Step 1: Create an assignment in Kiddom and attach the Drive document you want to assign to your students.

Step 2: Click on “attach standards” in the assignment options.

Step 3: Search and add (check) the standards you want to attach to the drive assignment, and click save.

 

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If you want to make it really easy to attach standards to your assignments, visit your class settings and add standards to be tracked in your class. Now, when you go to attach standards in an assignment, the standards that you are tracking in your class settings will appear for you. One less step towards analyzing student performance… nice, right?

Kiddom’s intelligence reports also create easy to interpret, beautiful graphs and progress reports for each student in your class, including their progress on each standard you’ve assigned with your assignments. Using Google Drive, you’d have to manually track those standards, but if you use Kiddom and Google together, it’s a match made in heaven!

What can super-charging Google Drive assignments with Kiddom intelligence reports do for your students? Here are a couple of ideas:

1. Offer students a voice during conferences: Whether it’s student-teacher conferences or parent-teacher conferences, your students will be able to lead the conversations and talk about their academic growth and areas in need of improvement. Kiddom’s reports make it easy for students to track their progress by allowing them access to it 24/7.

2. Offer students ownership: If you have students doing independent, inquiry-driven work in your classroom, you know that it’s hard to keep up with the timely feedback and conferences required to keep students excelling. That’s where Kiddom reports come in: they can follow their progress with each benchmark assignments submitted/evaluated as soon as you grade the assignment. With the ability to track their progress toward certain skill sets (Standards Based Grading), students will know what they need to focus on, day after day and week after week.

Ready for more tips? Check out the next post in this series, Transforming Drive Folders Into Organized Curriculum.

 

 


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Written by: Sarah Gantert, Success Specialist

 

P.S. Want more resources for the upcoming school year? Check out Kiddom’s K-12 Library to access to thousands of standards-aligned resources from popular publishers.