Friday, January 16, 2015

Class Dojo Visit

On the same day I was again fortunate to be able to meet with the great staff at Class Dojo, more commonly known in Australia, Class Dojo is about encouraging students in the classroom and engaging parents. For those who are unfamiliar Class Dojo keeps track of student progress with awarding points for positive and collaborative practices. You can find more at their website here

I used it a few years ago but then found it difficult when awarding multiple students at one time, yesterday I found that this is now a feature of Class Dojo. It was also an opportunity to share some great websites that I use in class and hear about the new features that have been added over the last couple years. It was also the day of the new app was launched, so I was lucky to get a personal tour.

Here are a few of the features of the newly launched app yesterday (some have already been on a while).
Change avatar - Students are able to log into their own account and change the avatar to make it an image of themselves or an image that suits them. They are also able to log in to check and show their family what points they received on the day.
Award multiple students - (Love this feature) By clicking on the award multiple students button, you can then select which students to award.
Promote collaboration - a great task you can set your students is a class point goal and a reward e.g. If the class reaches 1000 points, they can watch a movie or order in pizza, even having extra sport or free tech time would work.
Send pics and messages to students and parents -  With Class Dojo you can send pictures of what students are doing to students and also parents during the day. This is a great feature that parents are loving as they can see what students are doing.
Share classes - For students that have multiple teachers, they can be shared so that each teacher can award points to students in their care on their own account.
Same student profile for multiple teachers/classes -  So once a student has their profile set up the same student can be shared with other teachers so that they can show all points awarded. It does then break down to points to show which teacher awarded points.

So hopefully these couple of tips will help you - the staff are very friendly and I have to say are awesome at giving teachers and parents what they want and can use. Another great office with friendly staff I would love to thank all staff especially Manoj and Jenna for setting up the meet and of course thank you for the delicious chicken salad!
Another office that is always happy to welcome in teachers, so again if you are in the Bay area, drop them a line.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

I "remind" my class.

Today I was lucky enough to visit the HQ of the great Ed app remind.  It was a good opportunity to share what happens in my class as well as the great things that are happening in Australian education. It was also nice to be helpful to the staff so that they can see what teachers need and want from such an app.
Firstly, what is remind?
Remind (in a nutshell) is an sms service and app that teachers can use to safely send push notification reminders to student and parents.
Please find more information on their website
I got to meet and have lunch with Clara and Rachel, Clara introduced me to other staff, including one who is originally from Australia in Melbourne. 
The conversation over lunch included sharing other back channel sites and ways of communicating with students and parents in and outside of the classroom. Such as Today's meet, Google sites, blogger and Twitter.
Some of the questions I was asked included how else would I use remind to communicate and what do I do to make sure such tools are used correctly. Some questions I would invite you to consider.
I shared about ways of dealing with behaviour and how promoting positive behaviour on and off line is essential. This includes identifying their digital footprint, how everything they do and say has an impact on individuals, places and themselves. I included the example of handing out plain piece of paper and instructing students to crumple it, tear it, stamp on it and ruin it. Then try to return it to its original condition.  I then relate this practice to how they treat others.
We also continued to discuss how communicating online in a classroom setting can give students a voice and then you can keep record of what students have said and shared.
I would encourage others to check out remind and see how you could use it for your class or even school. I am hoping to use it at our school as we do not have a school app but this is a cheaper and efficient way to remind parents about notes, change of dates and items that need to come into school.
Thank you to Clara and all he lovely staff at remind for making me feel so welcome and the delicious cob salad for lunch!
Another thing they also said is that they are always trying to get teachers to stop by so they can hear more about classrooms and how remind can help, so if you are ever in the bay area, I highly recommend you get in contact with Clara.