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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.

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.

More Product Articles

Kiddom and Newsela: Better Together

Build a library of resources for a diverse levels of readers using Newsela and Kiddom together. If you’re a Newsela user, you know it’s an amazing resource for your students. Having the ability to…

On the Hook to Engage Students? Find ClassHook’s Video Resources from Kiddom’s K-12 Library

On the Hook to Engage Students? Find ClassHook’s Video Resources from Kiddom’s K-12 Library

Even the most animated teachers know what it’s like to stand before a room full of glazed-over stares and drooping eyelids. Student engagement is often the toughest part of the job, and many educators struggle to “hook” their students and reel them into academic content.

The good news is, you don’t have to do backflips or pepper your lesson plans with the latest slang (you really, really don’t) to get your students interested, inspired, and ready to learn. ClassHook provides you with a simple way to hit refresh on your lessons. Here are three ways to engage your classroom using ClassHook and Kiddom:

 

Tip 1: Use ClassHook to bring a bit of interest, humor, and retention into the classroom

ClassHook is a full library of short film clips pulled from popular media that can be used to pique interest and make students feel more connected to the academic content. Let Bart Simpson explain the properties of metal. The Animaniacs remind students to carry their 1’s. Shrek schools them on literary tropes. How’s that for a mnemonic device!

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Tip 2: Use a ClassHook video as a high-level primer for a new topic

Film is a familiar medium for young people, and leveraging media literacy is a powerful way to help students understand complex ideas. Use ClassHook to introduce or reinforce academic concepts. While students won’t receive all of the pertinent information just from watching these clips, it can be the spoonful of sugar needed to move through a lesson with ease. Each ClassHook clip is tagged by grade level, subject, and topic so it’s easy to find appropriate content to fortify any lesson.

Tip 3: Make homework more approachable

At the end of a class, use Kiddom to drag and drop a ClassHook video resource from Planner into student assignments for students to watch later at home. This kind of homework can can be quite helpful for retaining a lesson, and might be more approachable to those students who already have plenty of reading materials to study. This tip might be especially useful for teachers trying to keep students engaged over a break or a long weekend.

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Kiddom integrates the most helpful teaching tools in one place so you can plan individualized lessons, assign curriculum, grade, and do your reporting all in one place. Along with our new Classhook integration, you can build your Kiddom lesson plans upon various other tools like CK-12, Newsela, LearnZillion, Quill, RocketLit, IXL Learning, and more!

 

 

Ready to start planning with ClassHook resourcesKiddom is free for classroom teachers!

 


By: Eboni Hogan, Content Specialist

 

How Might Schools Quantify “Personalized Learning?”

How Might Schools Quantify “Personalized Learning?”

Personalized learning is a buzz phrase we hear often in education. This pedagogical style is inspirational, and may serve students well, but it often lacks direction.

Many professional development sessions begin with: “Let’s define personalized learning,” because the term is thrown around so often. At Kiddom, we’ve had the privilege to witness many excellent strides toward personalized learning in different environments, but many haven’t yet seen it in practice. So how does an administrator or community measure the pursuit of this practice without knowing exactly how it looks or where to focus their efforts to improve?

In mastery-based classrooms, students become better advocates of their learning when they know where they excel and where they need to improve. The ability to measure performance in a focus area and put that information to practice generally empowers most students to achieve their learning goals. Schools and districts are no different.

For those systems working to offer more opportunities to personalize learning for students, visibility on success metrics makes all the difference in their own instructional growth and professional development. That’s where Kiddom comes in, and we are delighted to announce a new partnership that makes it easier than ever for districts and schools to quantify their personalized learning initiatives.

Kiddom provides both, a team dedicated to your success and a platform for personalized learning, so you have a direct pathway to monitor instructional change within your community. And now Kiddom has partnered with Education Elements to provide an Onpoint score for your personalized learning journey.

What is an Onpoint Score? A “credit score” for personalized learning, Onpoint provides the framework and metrics to help learning communities focus their individualization efforts, including curriculum and instruction, support, culture of innovation, strategy, and so much more.

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Providing schools a focused plan to implement personalized learning is what we are most excited about, as many of Kiddom’s educator communities use our school operating system for this very reason. Kiddom’s early adopter program offers benefits to new schools and districts that adopt Kiddom, including training, a personal success specialist, membership to Kiddom’s Educator Brain Trust, and the newest addition, Education Elements’ Onpoint score for personalized learning.

The ability to give individualized support to every student, with wide ranges of needs, abilities, and interests, is an amazing and critical feat to accomplish. With Kiddom’s tools and Education Elements’ reports, schools and districts are better equipped than ever to quantify their own success. They now have the knowledge to target their efforts in supporting both teachers and admin as they cultivate a personalized learning experience for students.

Interested to learn more about what Kiddom offers schools and districts? Let’s set up a time for a walkthrough!

Back to School Tips and Tricks for Classroom Teachers

Back to School Tips and Tricks for Classroom Teachers

To kick off a new school year, the Kiddom Success Team has put together some recommendations to help you get the most out of Kiddom and start the semester strong. These tips and tricks will help you and your students engage and get ready to tackle another year!

 

Tip #1: Create a Getting to Know You Survey

Investing time in getting to know your students early in the school year is essential for building strong relationships that allow students to take academic risks and encourage open, honest feedback.

Using our Google Drive integration, you can create a survey in Google Docs and share it with your students in Kiddom. They’ll each receive a private, personal copy organized automatically in a Kiddom folder in your Drive. Our assignment settings make it easy to share this without it counting towards a grade to ensure that students aren’t afraid to be honest.

You can also align your survey to any of the CASEL standards for social emotional learning — we suggest the competencies that measure Self-Awareness and Relationship Skills. Once students have submitted their responses, you can comment directly on the Google Doc or use Kiddom’s commenting features to start a dialogue that will last all year.

 

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Tip form Melissa Giroux, School Success Lead

 

Tip #2: Make Every Assignment Unique…and Engaging!

It’s simple: When you give students meaningful, engaging assignments, they’ll appreciate the material, and they’ll appreciate you.

Bellwork, exit tickets, and other re-engagement activities can be crucial for retaining information, and Kiddom’s K-12 Library lets you easily offer exciting and engaging materials for all subjects. You can then use our Playlists to organize and store all of your saved videos, interactives, games, and more without hours of searching or planning. Your Playlists will be ready to go with a simple drag-and drop!

Let’s start by creating an assignment in a Playlist. The Playlist will be saved in your Planner, so you can easily drag and drop your classwork for each day whenever you’re ready to assign, without creating the assignment over and over again. Within your Playlist, you can make an assignment for each day and attach content from the Library (or your own…or both!), standards, points/rubrics, and assignment type. Use your Playlists to group lessons, resources, videos, assignment types — whatever works best with how you’re organized.

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When you’re creating an assignment in your Playlist, click the Kiddom “K” logo to access our content library. With about 100,000 resources, we have exactly what you need: videos, interactives, practices, and more, for all subject areas.

Simply select your grade level, subject, and if you want, where you’d like to see the resources from or resource type. This will generate all of the content we have for your subject and grade. You can also use keywords like “American Revolution” or “Molecules” to narrow down your search. Preview the content to see if it’s the right fit and then click select to attach it to the assignment.

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Since Playlists live in your Planner, you can carry them with you from class to class. When a new week starts, simply edit the assignment to add new content/change due dates/points or rubrics. kiddom

Tip from Shabbir Manjee, Support Specialist

 

Tip #3: Create and Assign Class Roles

Clear and consistent routines and procedures can make or break classroom management systems. When I was an 8th grade teacher, I often wished I could multiply myself to get it all done. So I did! I created a list of “class roles” for students to act on, such as homework recorderoffice assistant, and tech assistant. This gave them the chance to practice taking on more responsibility while freeing me to focus on instruction.

Not only do class roles give students greater agency — if done right, they can be an orderly foundation for your class culture.

 

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How can I implement this in my class?

  1. Think of tasks students can carry out to help the flow of the day or period. You know your class and students best, but feel free to use our resource of possible class roles and descriptions.
  2. Create an assignment for each role in Kiddom. Write out the descriptions in student-friendly language so they will be able to understand the expectations when it is their turn.
  3. Create a Playlist of class roles that you can drag and drop into your Timeline and assign them to different students throughout the year.
  4. Go over the roles and expectations as you would routines and procedures. Depending on your students, you may need to model it, review it mid-year, or have them sign up. Ask them to master it and then teach the next student for you.

That’s it! Enable your students to contribute to the class and give yourself a break.

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Tip from Nicole Plante, Support Specialist

 

Tip #4: Start a Student Club! Run By Students, Powered by Kiddom

Teachers using Kiddom know it’s a great way to plan, organize, and assess student progress throughout a school year. But did you know you can also use Kiddom to power student-run clubs?

If you are an advisor for a student extracurricular, whether it’s student government, debate team, or the anime club, you know it’s a lot of work to get members the information they need about upcoming events, trips, fundraisers, and meetings. You’ve probably found yourself wondering how you can put more of the onus on your students to get it done. That’s where Kiddom can help.

If you want to give student club officers control of their clubs, it’s as simple as creating a teacher account for them to use on Kiddom.

Just set it up with credentials for students by creating a student officer email account, then use that account to sign up with Kiddom as a teacher. This account can be used each year as new students take leadership roles in your activity.

Here is an example:

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Class: Debate Team

Teacher: Ms. G

Collaborators: Debate Team Leaders

Now your students have access to the same posting and commenting abilities that you have, putting student-run clubs back in the hands of students.

Do your student officers need to distribute an itinerary for a upcoming club trip? Do they need to vote on a revision to club by-laws? They can easily post documents, questions, and polls for their club members with this account!

In addition, these student club leaders will have the ability to assign members of the club individual tasks and goals; just like you would do in an academic Kiddom class. Meaning, not only can your club become officially student-run, but your student leaders will be able to distribute tasks and assignments to groups of club members in order to get everyone invested in club goals and activities.

Once your students have access to their club’s Kiddom course, the possibilities for student ownership are endless!

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We hope you find these hacks for using Kiddom fun and exciting! Let us know how you’re using Kiddom by emailing support@kiddom.co, and be sure to sign up for our newsletter below for the latest news, guides, resources, and more!

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