I first heard about Classkick through Dan Meyer’s blog and thought ‘I have to give this a try!’ The idea is simple but the implications could be huge. A platform that lets you see what students are thinking and writing, in real time! It is so simple I can’t believe it hasn’t been done before.
So, as soon as I finished reading the article, I downloaded it onto my iPad and emailed my students to do the same ready for the next day. I didn’t want to go another day in my classroom without trying this out.
The punchline: It’s a great idea, but it needs some work.
The interface is clean and pleasant to use. The tutorial videos are helpful as some elements are more intuitive than others. For example, i assumed that students would sign up once to a class and after that would stay signed in (as is the case for many other education apps). But with Classkick, students will sign in to each assignment you set, separately with a different code. I think this could get a little cumbersome when I am setting activities every lesson.
The idea behind the app is phenomenal and when it worked it was magical. To be able to see what students are writing, provide immediate feedback and pointers is a very powerful tool. This could be used for in class work or for homework.
The students loved knowing that I could see their work, I could give them instant feedback and they responded very positively. They jumped into the learning from my feedback. I could not only look at their answers but circle and ask questions about mistakes in their thought processes. This is so exciting!
However, on first use I did find the app a little slow, at least from the teachers side of things. In one lesson it took around 4 minutes for the students’ work to appear on the screen when the network was working just fine. Sometimes it took a while to recognize my writing, impeding my ability to give as many students as I could, feedback. It can also take a little getting used to writing with a stylus. I found if I wrote too quickly, it simply didn’t recognize my writing at all.
This is a new app; there are going to be bugs. I for one am excited to stick with it as the wrinkles are ironed out or I find something that is doing the same thing but better. One day, this sort of app will be part of every classroom and hopefully, very soon indeed. The best of luck to the Classkick team!
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Report from a couple of weeks later: When it works, it is an amazing tool to view what students are thinking. However, especially on the teacher side of things it is still very buggy. It takes a long time to load (even when no students are writing on their ipads) and it frequently crashes mid way through an activity. It’s a nice idea but there is some serious work to make this run smoother. Released a little too early in development, perhaps?
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