Lately I have been doing a lot of talking about Classkick. In August the webtool version of this amazing app went live and now schools without iPads can take advantage of this fun and useful tool in their classrooms. As a result, I have spread the word at a couple of local conferences and in some PLCs in my district. If you aren't familiar with Classkick, take a look at some of my previous posts to read more about it. Today I will describe a way to use it for group work.
I was using Classkick in my classroom last year and stumbled upon a feature that created a new avenue for teamwork. When students use a code to sign in to an assignment, they type their name and get added to a roster. I had two Mikes in class last year, so I told them - the first time we used Classkick - to sign in as Mike J and Mike T. Fast forward to March and we were working on an assignment. They forgot about their last initials and both signed in just as "Mike." When they did this, they both started working on the same version of the same assignment. In other words, they were sharing a canvas. They realized this when they both started solving the same chemistry problems and could see each other writing on their papers: "Hey! Someone is writing on my page!"
I was warning about this in a PD session this fall and, as I described it, it occurred to me that this could be a powerful way to use Classkick in a classroom. Create a group work assignment and have everyone in the group sign in under one group name. For example, I could create checkpoints for an inquiry-based lab experiment. Everyone in the lab group signs in as "Table1" and works on the assignment together. They could work on each page together or every member of the group could tackle a different part of the task, like a jigsaw strategy. Everyone has access and can edit the work. The teacher can see the group working together in real time. The hand raise feature can be used to have their group work checked or to request help.
I haven't tried this in my classroom yet, but my son and I tried it at home and had great results. We worked on this slide collaboratively (I used an iPad; he used a chromebook):
He wrote in black and green; my writing is red. I drew the blue car, but he gave it the smiley face. As we worked, we could erase and change each other's work. In the picture at the top of this post, I changed the color of one of the lines. He edited my textboxes. On another slide, he wrote a just-the-facts story ("the object moved at constant speed, then stopped, then moved again") to match a motion graph, but then I added some details ("the wolf moved through the forest looking for food and spotted Red Riding Hood . . .") to make it more like a story. After we tried three slides, I told him that I had seen enough. I knew it would work and had the pictures I needs for my blog. He asked if we could keep working. He thought it was fun. I agree. It was fun.
Using Classkick like this could make group activities more manageable because teachers can use the great feature of watching work in real time to monitor group progress. Students can divvy up parts of the task to make the work go faster or more smoother. Or they can use the shared canvas to edit each other's work without waiting for someone to ask for help. I love the possibilities that this creates for a classroom that emphasizes group work!