Classkick is a tool that allows for real-time monitoring, feedback, and assessment on student work and can be a bridge to more personalized learning in 1:1 classrooms. In this blog, two educators share their experiences with Classkick, including both its limitations and why they love the app. The initial perspective is from fourth-grade teacher Amanda Hawthorne.
Have you ever stood in line at one of the only two copy machines in the teachers’ lounge only to watch the machine jam over and over again for the person in front of you? Or have you run out of paper while making copies and had to borrow from another teacher? How about that back pain from having to lug all those papers around to be graded? In a world with so much technology at our fingertips, why haven’t we found the solution to any of those problems? That solution may have arrived. I recently went to a professional development workshop and was introduced to a free application that came out of my dreams and into my classroom. It’s called Classkick.
Classkicking into High Gear
Classkick is a free app that allows students to work on assignments and get help instantly from their teacher and peers. At first, I was hesitant. Now I would have to add another element to my classroom that would take time to learn, and I’d have to teach my students how to use it, too. I put it on hold until the fateful day when I was standing in line to make copies for my students when BOTH of the copiers broke. I didn’t know how I was going make my lesson effective without something for my students to write on.
It was at that moment that I remembered Classkick. Fortunately, I have 1:1 Chromebooks in my classroom, so I knew I was going to have to give this a try. Once I walked my students through the Classkick tutorials, they were instantly hooked. The idea of getting to use their Chromebooks instead of a pencil and paper was so exciting to them! The next day, I uploaded the assignment I had been trying to copy and let them complete it on Classkick. I was able to watch them in real time as they worked through each question. If a student had a question, they would simply “raise their hand” with a click of a button and not feel any embarrassment or self-consciousness.
Once they completed their assignment, they submitted their work and I was able to grade all their papers from the comfort of my own home without having to carry them home in a heavy bag. The next morning, my students begged me to send them more assignments on Classkick so they could show me what they could do on the app.
Why I Love Classkick
Classkick can be easily linked to your Google Classroom for sending assignments and saving work. It’s only available on iPads, computers, and Chromebooks. I had finally found a solution to using the dreaded copy machine. By the end of the year, I was sending assignments, tests, and even books to my students!
Not only does Classkick save me time, it also saves TONS of paper in my classroom. Since I have Classkick connected with my Google Classroom, parents can easily log in and see their children’s work. I use this app several times a day to introduce new topics or concepts, to demonstrate text-based evidence from a story using colored highlighters, and even as our morning bell ringer. It also allows me to add my own content, my voice, my images, and my directions. Students can add their own pictures, labels, voices, and text to make the assignment their own.
Classkick is also very user-friendly. Their website has so many teacher resources, and if that doesn’t help, you can email their wonderful tech support. I was having trouble and they asked me to call them on my conference hour and personally walked me through what I was having trouble with. Classkick made my experience personal, and they made sure I was able to complete the task without any hesitation.
Classkick completely changed my classroom, and I am so grateful. I recommend it to anyone who has an opportunity to use technology in their classrooms. You don’t have to be 1:1 to make it work. If you have computers or iPads in your classroom, Classkick can be used for centers. Classkick wants to “help teachers teach and learners learn.” Give it a try; you will love it!
Another Educator’s Perspective on Classkick
Ronald Cintrón has also tried Classkick with his students and shares his experiences:
I’m always looking for that magic app the will instill STAAR skills like a silver bullet and maybe even serve me coffee while I wait. I’m subscribed to any source that has recommended new apps and I go to categories/education and look at the top fifty in both the Play Store and App store. I was excited when I saw the Classkick app because of its easy-to-use features to benefit both teachers and students. Those features include:
- Student sign-in is a snap using a code you provide them.
- Tests are easy to import and can be automatically separated into different pages.
- I am able to see in real time how the students are solving the problems.
- Once each student finished, they can submit and wait for my reply (from my iPad) or “raise their hand.” I am able to write on their screen wirelessly.
- I can remotely reward them and/or help them individually.
- Other students can help remotely as well!
Initially, the school infrastructure wasn’t ready to support Classkick, and we had a significant lag of up to five minutes. We were able to improve that in subsequent years, but the honeymoon ended when my average student count increased. We don’t have enough laptops for 1:1 and found we were investing too much time. That said, I still have a lot of positive things to say about Classkick. The kiddos love it, and I love it. They love the badges awarded to them and get excited when I virtually write on their paper (laptop). I love it because it lets me give them more personal attention and assessment.
Is Classkick the right choice for your district? Have you used it and had a different perspective from these educators? We would love to hear your experiences in the comments.
This is a guest blog by Amanda Hawthorne and Ronald Cintrón. Amanda currently teaches fourth grade at Fort Sam Houston ISD in San Antonio, Texas. You can follow her on Twitter @MrsAHawthorne or email her at [email protected]. Ronald is a bilingual teacher at Oak Meadows Elementary in Austin, Texas.