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What Makes Kiddom for Android Special? Interview

What Makes Kiddom for Android Special? Interview

Guillermo Alcantera

Guillermo Alcantera

Mobile Engineering Lead, Kiddom

I’m a developer. I’m a generalist. I bring to the table 15 years of experience packaged as a solid fullstack engineer. A proven record of successful products shipped. Love working with people from different backgrounds. Finding ways to create great systems. Balancing quality, time and scope.

As many of you know, teachers can plan, assign, assess, report, and more using Kiddom, available via desktop, Apple, and as of earlier this year, Google Play.

But there’s more to our Android product than you might think. This week, we had a chat with Kiddom’s Mobile Engineering Lead, Guillermo Alcantara, to tell us what makes the Android product special.

 

So, what is unique about Kiddom Android compared to other versions of the product?

Guillermo: If you’re using Kiddom on Android you’ll find it is more similar to the web experience than our iPhone app, which often has a different interface, than what you might see online. That’s because we’ve created more custom widgets for iOS, whereas with Android we’re building more for Google’s vision. In other words, because Android’s store is owned by Google, the Android mobile product is more optimized for Google standards.

Kiddom on Android is also more performant; we’ve put more emphasis on making the product work in varied conditions. For instance, if your network is slow or your screen is small, the Android product can be handy in those situations… we have built it from the start with attention to limitations like internet speed, battery life, and smaller screens. Our Apple product, on the other hand, is a more optimized experience for newer Apple devices, in keeping with iOS protocol.

A third uniqueness about our Android product is the ability to be easily translated, which is on our roadmap to release soon. It’s not something we have prioritized, but the entire app is ready to be translated — as many of our users are Spanish-speaking, and we know that could help a lot of schools.

 

 

Speaking of what’s “on the roadmap,” can you tell us more about what is coming soon for Kiddom’s Android product?

Guillermo: Soon we’ll be able to offer a translatable version of Spanish and Chinese. Many developers are familiar with FIGS (French, Italian, German, and Spanish), which is perhaps a traditional approach to translate, but we’ll likely make our earliest translations in Spanish and Chinese.

We are also constantly using our Android app to run tests that help foster a better user experience, so often those roadmap features show up on Android first. Like the Snapshot Roster feature, and the ability to take notes, for instance.

 

Can you speak more on the Snapshot Roster feature?

Guillermo: One feature we’re excited about releasing soon is the ability to add students on mobile in a quick and easy manner. Teachers can simply use their phones to take a snapshot of their student roster, whether digital or in print, and from that list, our product creates a new account for each student using text recognition technology called OCR (Optical Character Recognition). This will save teachers a great deal of time when they need to add a new class or want to switch over to Kiddom in the middle of a semester.

 

…and the Notes feature?

Guillermo: Yes, it provides users the ability to make notes. This feature was first available only in Android and we hope to soon make it available to everyone. That’s because we typically use Android to test new features. If we see that enough people are using the features we’re testing, we’ll roll them out to all of our products for everyone to use.

 

Can you tell us about the Student Groups Feature in Android?

Guillermo: Student groups — right now Kiddom assignments are only available for the entire class or one individual student, but what if you have a team assignment? This is a feature being testing in Android right now.

 

In closing, can you share what is your favorite part about the Android app?

Guillermo: I like the Timeline better in Android than in any other client. It’s easier to swipe rather than scroll.

…and that’s all he had time for! (Engineers are busy people, you know.) We hope you learned something new and useful, and as always, teachers, please let us know your thoughts and requests! We are building these products for you. ❤

For more information on Kiddom Android, visit our Support Page, or you can always reach us at support@kiddom.co if you have any questions.

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Introducing Standard Mastery Reports

Introducing Standard Mastery Reports

Dig deep into student performance on individual standards

As more and more teachers across the globe manage their classrooms using Kiddom, we’ve been thinking about how our reports can be even more actionable.

Simply put: we want teachers to be able to complete the instructional cycle for every student faster. And more efficiently. To do this, we believe teachers must need to be able to (1) investigate progress already made on specific standards/skills and (2) quickly act on it.

Well, we’re thrilled to announce this is now possible. Teachers, meet your new standard mastery reports and prepare to say, “Ooh la la…” 🤗

Standard Mastery Reports

To access your standard mastery reports, visit your reports page. Click on an individual standard from your reports to view a more detailed summary of your class performance on a specific standard.

Access these reports by clicking on an individual standard
  • At the very top, you’ll see a more detailed description of the standard you clicked on
  • Use the arrows next to this card to cycle between standards
  • The first reporting metric, Class Average, shows your overall class average for this standard
  • To the right, Class Average is distributed by mastery group
  • Use the graph below this to track the performance of your class on this standard over time
  • Sort the order of students by first name, last name, or by performance (e.g. sort by “lowest grade” to display students who need the most support first)

Individual Student Progress on Standards

From your standard mastery reports, scroll down and click on any student to open up individual student progress over time on specific standards.

Click on an individual student from your standard mastery reports to dig even deeper
  • At the top, you’ll see a graph you can use to track the performance of this student (on this particular standard) over time
  • Every assignment that is aligned to this standard (and assigned to that student) can be viewed here
  • Clicking on an assignment will open that particular student’s submission (where you’re welcome to add additional feedback and/or comments)

Find Resources Directly From Your Reports

Remember the, “we want teachers to be able to complete the instructional cycle for every student faster” thing we mentioned?

  • From your standard mastery reports, clicking “Find more assignments for this standard” will instantly open your resource library.
  • Use our library to find and assign free teaching resources (videos, quizzes, activities, and more) based on the intelligence you obtain from your standard mastery reports
  • Teaching resources here are meant to supplement/enrich instruction and offer teachers additional differentiation materials

What’s Next

We’re building Kiddom to be a place where teachers and learners can work together effortlessly, no matter where they are. We’re going to be focusing on one particular group of patient folks next: Android users. Stay tuned…

In the mean time, what are you waiting for? You have new reports to explore!

https://upscri.be/17b283/


By: Abbas Manjee, Chief Academic Officer

P.S. Book a free 1:1 demo to learn how Kiddom can support your instructional practice. We’d love to say hello in person!

Sharing is Caring: Introducing Collaborative Teaching and Learning

Sharing is Caring: Introducing Collaborative Teaching and Learning

A sense of collaboration and community is important for the success of any school. Collaborative environments allow teachers to feel appreciated and guided in their role. It’s not rocket science: when teachers collaborate and communicate effectively, they design richer learning experiences for their students. Today, we’re proud announce that collaboration tools are now available on Kiddom.

After months of researching, designing, engineering, and testing, all Kiddom users everywhere can now effectively collaborate with their colleagues. Hooray! 🎉

Here’s how collaboration works

  • Adding a collaborator is as simple as entering their email address.
  • As the class owner, you decide the type of access your collaborators gain, depending on each adult’s goals and roles (view vs. edit).
  • Share your classes with multiple adults — there is no limit to the number of collaborators each class can have.

Adding a collaborator that can view your class 👀

  • This means a collaborator may only see your class timeline and reports, without the ability to edit, add, or remove any assignments or students.
  • A collaborator that can view your class won’t be able to see or send comments to students on assignments.
  • This is best for administrators, instructional coaches, paraprofessionals, or support staff who may need access to student achievement data or assignments for their own focus areas.

Adding a collaborator that can edit your class ✍🏽

  • This means a collaborator gains modification privileges for assignments, grades, commenting, class settings, and rosters.
  • A collaborator that can edit your class has the ability to add additional collaborators.
  • This is best for co-teachers in special education, multi-age, or interdisciplinary classes who share the responsibility of creating and grading assignments.

Teamwork makes the dream work

The Kiddom team believes technology should enable teachers to share and learn best practices across their school communities. In fact, our pilot school communities intend to make big strides this year using Kiddom, all of which are using our collaboration features a little differently.

While we’re excited about collaboration and what it could mean for teachers and learners, we recognize there’s more work to be done. Over the next several weeks, we’re building co-planning feature sets for curriculum to accelerate our vision of building a collaborative education platform.

In the mean time, what are you waiting for? Start sharing and tweet us with your collaboration best practices using #SharingIsCaring.

https://upscri.be/17b283/


By: Abbas Manjee, Chief Academic Officer

Update 9/19: Sharing curriculum with co-teachers is now available!

Editor’s note: You can only share personally identifiable information with other teachers and administrators at your school. Please confirm that sharing your class and student achievement data with others in your school community is allowed under your school (or district) technology policy.

Say Hello to the New Student Experience

Say Hello to the New Student Experience

Today, we released a redesigned student experience on Kiddom to help 21st century learners access and submit work, track their own progress, and solicit feedback from teachers in real-time, from one place.

Over the past century, education technology has often left students out of the equation. That’s unfortunate, because students today move fast and are incredibly tech-savvy. At Kiddom, we believe students shouldn’t have to wait until progress reports are printed to learn where they stand in class or on specific skills. Students shouldn’t have to wait to see their teachers in person to pose clarifying questions or solicit feedback on an assignment. And from what we’ve gathered, teachers are constantly looking for ways to empower students to take control of their learning. With our redesigned student experience, the possibilities of student ownership are endless.

Timeline — Everything in One Place

For students that struggle to keep track of everything and never use paper planners — we heard you loud and clear.

When students login and click into their class, they’ll be greeted by their Timeline. Timeline allows students to view assignments (past, present, and upcoming) from one place. This not only includes teacher-created assignments, but also all the Khan Academy videos, CK-12 exercises, CommonLit readings, and other resources their teacher might’ve assigned for differentiation purposes via Kiddom’s Library of resources.

Submitting Work and Soliciting Feedback Made Easy

Teachers and learners can now actively communicate on their work in real-time. Sounds lovely.

When students click on an assignment from their Timeline, they’ll be able to see any instructions or attachments their teacher may have included, as well as the standards or skills has appended to the assignment. Students may upload and submit their own work and also engage in a discussion with their teacher regarding the assignment.

Reports — Monitor Progress and Self-Advocate

If students have real-time access to their achievement data, is it time to rethink report card day? We hope so.

When students can actively monitor their progress in class, they’re more likely to advocate for themselves. With our redesigned Reports, students can track their overall class progress, as well as progress on individual standards and skills — all in real-time. This means they finally have the data they need, when they need it.

We’re Just Getting Started

The new student experience has been long overdue. And while we’re incredibly excited about the positive impact it will make in classrooms around the world, there’s still a lot more work to be done. Over the next several months and into the next school year, we’re going to focus on adding community features to accelerate our vision of building a collaborative education platform. In the meantime, let us know what you think of the new student experience with a comment or chat with us directly using the in-app chat tool. Happy teaching and learning!

https://upscri.be/17b283/


By: Abbas Manjee, Chief Academic Officer

Editor’s note: We’re still testing the new Kiddom student experience. If your students signed up before Friday, April 21, 2017, they may not experience the new Kiddom just yet. We plan to conclude testing on Friday, April 28, 2017, at which time all students will be on the redesigned student experience. For more information, contact our support team.

Introducing an iOS App for Teachers and Learners

Introducing an iOS App for Teachers and Learners

We’re building Kiddom to be a place where teachers and learners can work together effortlessly, no matter where they are. Today, we’re proud to release our first version of an iOS app that supports both teachers and learners. Our latest iOS app (optimized for iPhone and iPad) makes it easier than ever for teachers to plan, assess, and analyze student work. But most importantly, this is an app that students can use too, making it an effective way for 21st century students to stay organized, submit work, and get feedback in a timely manner.

https://vimeo.com/194738319

Browse Premium, Standards-Aligned Content

Educators love Kiddom because we connect directly to premium, standards-aligned content. With our latest iOS app, teachers can browse and assign any of this content directly from their iOS devices.

Add your own assignments instantly. Or, Kiddom’s content library to assign content directly. Why reinvent the wheel?

Moving forward, a teacher doesn’t have to wait to get in front of a computer to browse Khan Academy’s videos for a student that requested additional guidance on a particular topic. A teacher that is assigned to cafeteria duty can still browse CK-12’s real-world activities to find the most appropriate exercise for students that are ready to apply what they learned in the previous class. And teachers that can’t access a computer because they share a room can still peruse CommonLit’s news articles, short stories, poems, and historical documents directly from the app. Yeah, we’d say teaching and learning just got a little more convenient.

21st Century Students Rely on Instant Feedback

Grading student work can grow to become a daunting exercise this season as quarters, trimesters, semesters, and all sorts of grading periods start to wrap-up. With our latest iOS app, teachers can assess student work and share critical feedback instantaneously.

Grade on the go, then easily analyze class performance and pivot instruction.

Students are free to ask their teachers questions on assignments in real-time from the convenience of their own iOS device. The ability for learners to learn on their own time and ask clarifying questions in-the-moment helps create a productive, continuous learning cycle. If students don’t have to wait until they physically see their teachers to get questions answered, then they’re free to learn more and get more done on their own time. We think that’s beautiful.

So, What’s Next?

We’re excited about this first version of a teacher and student iOS app, but we realize there’s more work to be done. We’ll continue to build more functionality for the iOS app over the next several months. In the meantime, download the app and let us know what you think in the comments.

https://upscri.be/17b283/


By: Abbas Manjee, Chief Academic Officer

Kiddom’s mission is to unlock potential for all teachers and learners. With today’s iOS app launch, we’re excited to get one step closer to a world where teachers have the time to inspire students and students have the ability to learn on the device they’re most comfortable with, on their own terms.

Introducing Content Integrations

Introducing Content Integrations

I taught mathematics in New York City alternative high schools. Every year, I prepared “at-risk” students with a history of chronic absenteeism for a standardized math test. If my students didn’t pass this exam, it prevented them from graduating.

I didn’t believe in standardized testing then, nor do I now. However, our education system is designed to work against students, particularly those at-risk. The reality was: I could complain all I wanted about policy, but If my students didn’t pass, they didn’t graduate. And if they didn’t graduate, they were statistically cursed to end up poor, homeless, in prison, or worse.

The challenge of teachers is twofold: lessons must cover standardized content and engage students with relevant connections. When I taught, I made lessons and resources downloadable and supplemented this by linking web-based, standards-aligned content. This practice showed signs of success in engaging even students with attendance issues as they accessed the content from their phones. I didn’t realize I was biting off more than I could chew: I’d just signed up myself up to plan, deliver, grade, and evaluate work assigned online as well as in the classroom. Of course, none of the tools I was using synced with each other, and certainly not with my gradebook. The burden was on me to aggregate achievement data to figure out what to do next for each of my students. This was unsustainable.

Today’s teachers are constrained by archaic workflows and tools that are ineffective or redundant. It’s unfortunate how many of these tools are mandated. Teachers are inefficiently spending their precious time working around these constraints, expediting their own burnout.

At Kiddom, we believe if teachers could access tools that amplified their reach and expanded access to quality content, they could level the playing field for their students. Teachers might finally get the time they need to plan and design authentic learning experiences. These are the experiences that get students to passionately raise their respective voices in class and connect to the learning material.

Today, I’m proud to announce Kiddom’s content integrations.

 

 

Today, teachers on Kiddom can access a comprehensive bank of standards-aligned, third-party content from resources like Khan Academy, CK-12, and more to assign directly to students. When students complete the assigned work, Kiddom automatically pulls the achievement data into your gradebook. Teachers can now use a growing pool of open-educational resources to engage and evaluate students, without setup costs or time spent copying back grades from different platforms. Kiddom overlays this data with beautiful, actionable reports.

The days of dealing with ugly spreadsheets painted red, yellow, and green are over. Search, assign, and evaluate with ease. Forget reinventing the wheel. Use that time to design an engaging activity, debate, or project.

 

Onward,
– Abbas Manjee
Chief Academic Officer @ Kiddom

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