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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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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

 

Introducing Detailed Intelligence Reports on iOS for Teachers and Learners

Introducing Detailed Intelligence Reports on iOS for Teachers and Learners

Now, you and your students have access to the same detailed intelligence reports on iOS devices as on our web application. Hooray!

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Actionable, Skills-Based Reports in Students’ Hands

We know students are more accustomed to using smartphones than laptops, so we wanted to make sure they can gain access to their assignments, grades, and feedback from the iOS app.

Whether they are switching classes or riding the bus home from school, students will be able to access more detailed, skill-based feedback on their phones. With this knowledge in the palm of their hands, students can advocate for themselves by:

  1. Responding to their teacher’s feedback
  2. Asking questions
  3. Uploading revisions to assignments on the go

 

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Student-Led Conferences

Standards Mastery reports allow students to have access to their data throughout a week, month, marking period, or school year, giving conferences a student powered turbo boost. Whether your students are doing a weekly check-in or you are having end of year conferences, Kiddom allows them to stay on top of their strengths and weakness all year long, wherever they are.

The new iOS upgrade provides students with the same access to their reports as the desktop version, so even on their way to a parent-teacher conferences, students can look over their reports and feel empowered to speak to their experience when the meeting takes place.

For students to gain an overall view of their progress in a specific course, they just need to tap on the “reports” menu at the bottom of the app. From there, students can view their standards mastery report by doing the following:

  1. After tapping on reports, students can tap “view more” to gain access to a standards tab.
  2. Tapping on one of the standards, students will be given a view of how they have progressed, over a given timeframe, on that specific standard. (note:the grey arrow on the chart indicates the previous data point)
  3. Swiping left and right on the standards card will take students through each of the standards they have been assessed on and see how their assignments correlate to the score.

 

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A Bonus!

4. Students can tap on any assignment in the timeline to see the details of the assignment, their submission, and any communication on the assignment.

Now when they conference with you or their parents about their progress they’ll be able to discuss their skills with evidence based responses. Pretty nifty, right?

 

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Teachers, We Didn’t Forget about You

Let’s face it, even when we’re in line at the grocery store, our students can sometimes be on our minds. With the Kiddom iOS app, you’ll be able to access all the same detailed reports that you do on the web version. So whenever you have an “a-ha” moment about your students and their needs, you’ll be able to access everything you need directly from your iOS device.

  1. Tap on the reports icon on the bottom menu, to gain access to your reports.
  2. Tap on “view more”, and then on the standards menu and you’ll be brought to a swipeable list of standards.
  3. Want more? By tapping on one of the standards boxes in the standards tab, you’ll see an option to search the Kiddom content library! Now, you can assign material that both remediates struggling students and enriches those that need to move beyond the timeline.

 

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Bonus: You can continue to leave feedback for your students even when you are away from your desk by tapping on an individual student’s report, navigating to their mini-timeline and clicking on the assignment for which you would like to leave comments.

 

 


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Written by: Sarah Gantert, Success Specialist

Flexible Assignments That Tell a Rich Story

Flexible Assignments That Tell a Rich Story

Trace a student’s journey to mastery with this new feature

Educators in our pilot schools and districts have been using Kiddom this school year to create self-paced curriculum and personalized assignments. Their work is shifting towards student-centered, authentic projects and away from teacher-driven assignments with only one right answer.

This shift provides options for demonstrating mastery in both the processes students use and the artifacts they create. To support our pilot schools’ desires to build student ownership, we’ve expanded the ways teachers can send assignments and students can send evidence of demonstrating mastery.

Students can send multiple attachments to teachers, allowing for multiple attempts on a single assignment

Now, each assignment created by a teacher can have multiple attachments from their computer, Google Drive, or Kiddom’s content library.

Students benefit too — they can send teachers more than one attachment per assignment, allowing them to do more complex and rigorous work in a streamlined way.

How do multiple attachments support teaching and learning?

  • Choice: Provide students with choice by sending multiple attachments as a set of options to choose from. An English teacher might attach multiple readings to choose at the same Lexile level.
  • Modality: Help every student gain an understanding of the learning material by attaching a video, an audio file, and a reading to meet their needs.
  • Process: Let students share several drafts of a project within a single assignment, or offer checklists and graphic organizers in the same assignment as the final project.
Teachers: supplement an attachment of your own with a curriculum resource from our Library

Students will now be able to:

  • Attach multiple attachments before submitting an assignment
  • Access and attach items from Google Drive
  • Make multiple submissions over time on a single assignment

Teachers will be able to:

  • Send multiple attachments from a single assignment
  • Attach more than one curriculum resource from Library
  • Send more than one Google Drive attachment
  • Attach any combination of files (PDFs, screenshots, images, etc.)

We’d like to thank our pilot school communities for helping us understand why allowing for multiple attachments is critical for classrooms focused on promoting student choice and voice. We’re excited to learn how you’ll use this new functionality in your quest to unlock potential for all students.

https://upscri.be/17b283/


By: Melissa Giroux, School Success Lead

P.S. If this is your first time hearing about our pilot program for schools and districts, click here to learn more. We do have some availability for learning communities interested in implementation spring 2018.

Just Added: Teaching Resources for Literacy, Writing, and Grammar

Just Added: Teaching Resources for Literacy, Writing, and Grammar

Knock knock. Who’s there? To. To who? To whom!

Grammar puns aside, the literacy gap is serious business. In the United States alone, an estimated 8.7 million 4th-12th grade students struggle with the reading and writing tasks required of them in school.

At Kiddom, we believe students deserve strong literacy instruction in all of their classes. That’s why we’ve just added teaching resources from the fine folks at Quill.org and RocketLit to our library.

Quill.org provides free writing and grammar activities for elementary, middle, and high school students. Activities are great for small group instruction or station work. They’re excellent for homework assignments as well.

Activities are designed to be completed in ten minutes, so there’s a lot of flexibility in how you use them. For example, a sentence combining activity asks students to combine multiple ideas into a single sentence. They then receive instant feedback to help them improve their clarity and precision.

Instantly find Quill.org’s resources and build grammar and language skills for writing assignments

Do I need a Quill.org account?
No. Both teachers and students can access the activity directly via the content library preview or in the student assignment. When a student completes the activity they will see a results screen.

RocketLit offers non-fiction science and social studies articles, written in a voice students love. The articles are packed with analogies and available at multiple reading levels, covering topics for upper elementary and middle school. Science resources are aligned to NGSS and a growing number of state standards.

Articles for students include listening support for lower reading levels and annotation options. Assessments include multiple choice and free response style questions. Students complete an initial reading diagnostic and RocketLit adapts each assignment you choose to the student’s own reading level. This adjusts as student’s reading improves.

Find RocketLit’s articles in Kiddom to introduce science or social studies topics

Do I need a RocketLit account?
Yes. However, teachers get a free one month trial and all 5th grade reading level versions are free. Your students will also need accounts which you can set up when you create your teacher account.

Whether you’re an English Language Arts teacher, literacy specialist, or just a grammar nerd, you’re going to love these resources. To learn more about library of free teaching resources, visit our help desk.

https://upscri.be/17b283/


By: Abbas Manjee, Chief Academic Officer

P.S. This educator guide on literacy instruction provides a definition of content literacy, its impact, strategies for incorporating literacy skills, and tips for using Kiddom to help you integrate literacy and content seamlessly for yourself and your students.