Sunday, August 26, 2012

TeacherKit- Something New

I got an iPad this year and am unsure now how I ever lived without it.  I wasn't sure that I needed it because I already had a computer, smartphone and an iPod touch but it is just so much more convenient than using any of those.  So towards the end of the year I started to use the iPad in school and tried to figure out ways I could use it.

My goal for this year is to start using the app TeacherKit.  I played around with a little last year (it was called TeacherPal then) but didn't really take advantage of what it had to offer.  This year I want to start off the year using it because I think it has the possibility to make my life a lot easier and help me in a few of the areas I'd like to focus on improving in.  So my intent is not to sound like an advertisement, but my hope is that if I talk about all the things it can do here, it here it'll force me to really use it as much as I want to.  And if anyone else has an iPad maybe it can help make your life easier too.

I started tonight by setting up all my classes.  My classes are pretty small so it's wasn't too difficult to enter them myself.  In a larger class though I would have the kids take turns entering their own info.  

How cute is this the main screen?  I love it.


A weakness of mine is learning names.  It takes me forever.  With this app, I can create a seating chart that includes the student's picture.  For now I used their school picture that was in the computer already, but I may give them the option to take a new one.  Since I put all of them in today I have actually already started to learn them and I won't even meet them for two more weeks!

I think that I'm going to also use this app instead of the info cards that I've used before.  I can have kids enter their e-mail address, their parent's e-mail address & phone number into the app so I can just pull it up when needed.  What's also cool is that this is totally customizable, I can choose what info I want to ask them.  I'll probably include things like what school they went to last year and a couple other random things.


Once I have that info in there I can use it to get in touch with someone if needed, but what's cooler is that the app can send out mass e-mails to all students or all parents.  At the beginning of the year when I send home the course guide to be signed I plan to have parents opt in or out of the e-mail list.  Since it uses the mail app, as long as I link my school e-mail to my iPad the e-mail will be coming from my school e-mail address which is good.


I also want to use this to take attendance.  Kids can only have a certain number of absences and lates before there are consequences so I need to make sure to take careful attendance.  With this app, I can set up my seating charts (that will include their photo instead of the cartoon) and then just take attendance by tapping the empty seats.  What might be the best part is that I can easily track absences because each kid will have a notification by them with the number of times they've missed my class.  Also really cool is that the absence codes are customizable, so you could also include late or things like the nurse in addition to just present/absent.


This app can also track behaviors, both good and bad.  I like this, but I'm not quite sure that I'll use it yet.  I'm trying to focus on one thing at a time.  For now, it's easier for me to write that stuff down in my student record binder, but we'll see.  Oh and there's a gradebook.  We use an online gradebook program though so I won't be using the gradebook aspect at all, but it really seems like the app has a lot that it can do.

It's also free which is awesome.  Completely free, not like a lite version where you will eventually need to buy the full one.  I think this would be awesome to bring into a parent meeting.  Instead of having to print out a bunch of stuff it would all be in there ready to pull up.  I think that good record keeping makes meetings go really smoothly.  Parents love details, they want to know exactly what is happening and I think this is a good way for me to do that.

Does anyone use this app by any chance?  I would love to hear about how you like it.

11 comments:

  1. How does your school take attendance as a whole? We use a program on the computer which tracks it all for us.

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    1. We use genesis (an online program), but there aren't alerts or anything so if I wanted to stay up to date with absences or lates I would need to actually go in and check the kid which I don't think I would actually do. What program do you use?

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  2. Ohhh...Thanks for your post. I am getting my new iPad today and can't wait. In fact, I posted on my blog looking for app suggestions or the necessary apps for teachers and the classroom. I like what this app does, but similar to Brynn's comment, I have to take attendance in our new student information system every period within the first 10 minutes, so I am not sure I would use the attendance part. But I am definitely going to check this out!

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    1. Awesome!! I have a bunch of apps that I love, I'll have to put together a list and share :)

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  3. I just recently found your blog and started regularly reading it. I love it! Your iPad post reminded me of something I've been wondering. I love the isn idea and have been reading all of your posts. I was thinking of implementing it either next semester or next school year. Our school is getting 1:1 iPads for each student next semester. With the implementation of those, our school will really be pushing us to utilize them in class. Do you think using the isn approach would be a bad idea since they have the iPads? I really am not sure how I will fully implement them for everyday use in my high school geometry class. I would love to hear your thought and opinions on that. Thanks, Ann

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    1. Wow I'm very jealous of the 1:1 iPads! I think you could still do ISNs if you want, but you could also probably implement something more tech based too, like an online binder type thing. I woud just make sure that if you go that route that it's something the kids will can have access to when they're not on the iPad since I assume they'll have to give them back at some point.

      I have a couple apps that I love, but as far as using them every day I'm afraid I don't have any wonderful suggestions. One great app though is Socrative which acts like a student response system, it's free and perfect in a 1:1 classroom. Dropbox is also a must to save stuff. There are so many great ideas all over though that if you google it you should be able to find tons of ideas.

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  4. I downloaded teacher kit at your suggestion, sadly I don't have access to school pictures for my students, so I will be taking my own.

    Have you found an easy way to upload lots of pictures (I will have 4 classes of 25 students, plus one with 7 students) I've been playing with importing my class lists as csv files, but I don;t want to put much time into it yet if I am going to have to re-upload once I get parent email and phone.

    Like you, I am aweful with names, so I'm also planning to print copies of "first week" pictures - I'm going to have each student write their name and one self-descriptor on a mini white board. (or maybe two pictures so I can quiz myself!)

    Thanks for your blog!

    Sarah

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    1. For the pictures there is an easy way..you can take a class picture and it separates out all the faces which is so cool. With so many kids I would probably just pass around the iPad and have the kids input it themselves. Even for ,y classes which are small I only did their names and pictures and plan to have them fill the rest in them self. I love the idea of taking a picture with a whiteboard, that's awesome!

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  5. Can anyone tell me if there is a way to print out grades by class on the Teacherkit?

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    1. Sorry, I have no idea..I haven't been using the gradebook part of the app

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