Exploring the use of Classwork App in our classrooms.

I have been thinking of all the ways I can get my students to express themselves and their learning and to reveal more about what they love and how they learn. 

Of course, teachers need to measure what a student knows at any given point, but a large part of that is knowing how they process and are able to express their learning best. And there are so many ways… How to keep up?!

I have found myself using platforms and tools that make a space for multimedia expression. Often, I make template slide decks in Keynote for the students to work within – adding text, voice and sounds recordings, video, images, hyperlinks and even animations. 

So, where does Classwork come in?

At MSC, our iPads have a school-created Apple ID. Because I am signed in with that ID and my students have signed with theirs also, I am able to see and connect to my class in both Classroom and Classwork apps.  Classwork is known as Schoolwork in other countries. TIP: Get your kids to put a selfie as their ID profile picture so you can always tell who is connected. 

Classwork app is a platform that allows me to assign the Keynote slide decks I have created, to my students, as a task. I can choose to assign tasks to my whole class, a single student, or a group of students for differentiation. For each task I am able to set a due date, write a title and description (oftentimes instructions); and for students to be more independent I am even able to include a video of myself giving instructions / modelling an example of how to complete the task. 

What about Formative Assessment & Feedback?

Much like the Classroom app, when entering Classwork as a teacher I am able to see the list of students under an assigned task and enter into their work remotely to see how they are doing. Once, when my students were working on a task and I was sticky-beaking, I chanced upon the happy discovery that I could leave students voice recordings inside their work! I began to use this tool as a way to give real-time feedback inside the work they were creating, while the class was quiet and concentrated. Tip: it’s also fun to add digital stickers of encouragement/acknowledgement, in this same way. 

Once a student has completed their work, they are able to click ‘Submit’. Once submitted, their work becomes fixed and un-editable. Note: If students accidentally hit ‘Submit’ it’s OK! They can hit the ‘delete’ button without actually deleting any of the work they have created. Phew!

If you can talk to your students directly, what is the benefit of digital feedback?

I am constantly having mini face-to-face conferences with students about their work. I love these moments and often wish I could reach more students within the given time. Having the option of flipping the classroom with the video modelled instructions and being able to give digital feedback on a students’ work without disrupting them, can help me as a teacher reach more students. Sometimes I will have one or more students sit with me and watch my process of giving digital feedback to another student’s work, making visible the things I am looking for, and how others are approaching the task – two quality feedback moments in one! 

Extra tips:

  • You don’t need to set a due date! Students can work on a task for the duration of a whole term and don’t need to submit their work for you to review it. 
  • It’s possible to share all sorts of file types through Classwork app, not only Keynote decks.
  • If you are using a keynote deck and creating templates that require students to upload images or videos, I suggest using a ‘place holder’!  

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