1. Mari Strand Cary
  2. https://ctl.uoregon.edu/about/staff/mari-strand-cary
  3. Research Associate
  4. KinderTEK
  5. https://kindertek.com/
  6. University of Oregon
  1. Ben Clarke
  2. https://education.uoregon.edu/users/benjamin-clarke
  3. Associate Professor
  4. KinderTEK
  5. https://kindertek.com/
  6. University of Oregon
  1. Kathleen Jungjohann
  2. https://ctl.uoregon.edu/about/staff/kathy-jungjohann
  3. Research Assistant
  4. KinderTEK
  5. https://kindertek.com/
  6. University of Oregon
  1. Lina Shanley
  2. https://ctl.uoregon.edu/about/staff/lina-shanley
  3. Research Assistant Professor
  4. KinderTEK
  5. https://kindertek.com/
  6. University of Oregon
  1. Cathy Watkins
  2. https://ctl.uoregon.edu/about/staff/cathy-watkins
  3. Research Assistant
  4. KinderTEK
  5. https://kindertek.com/
  6. University of Oregon
Public Discussion
  • Icon for: Mari Strand Cary

    Mari Strand Cary

    Lead Presenter
    May 13, 2018 | 09:28 p.m.

    Thanks for checking out KinderTEK! Welcome to the conversation.

    In addition to questions and comments you'd like to discuss throughout this video showcase, we'll be posing a few questions. To get started...

     

    1) Teachers and district/school administrators: Individualized educational technology (ed tech) has major potential to help teachers in the classroom and certainly seems to be becoming part of the school landscape. How do you frame the use of ed tech for your students, parents, and colleagues? Does your framing differ depending on the characteristics of the programs or devices you use? What is most successful for you?

     

    2) Funders and educators looking to identify "effective" ed tech: What evidence is needed for you to consider an educational technology effective and worth putting into action in schools? Especially in the case of individualized, differentiated learning programs, each student's experience is different...does that matter to you when considering effectiveness? Realistically, to what should the ed tech be compared?

     

    3) Parents: As students use these types of programs at school, what are your thoughts? Do you want information about your student's progress and mastery of the program's content separately from the typical feedback teachers provide or would you prefer or expect your child's teacher to wrap program info into the larger curriculum and progress they report out to you?

     

    4) Students: Do you like that teachers are starting to use games and apps in school to teach things like math OR would you prefer to keep those at home "for fun"? Explain your answer.

     

    5) Researchers: Is it worth it? It takes so much time to create a truly, educationally-sound individualized learning technology. Should we just focus on teacher-led curricula and interventions and leave the games to the software companies or does it make sense to try to collaborate and do it all?

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  • Icon for: Lisa Miller

    Lisa Miller

    Facilitator
    May 15, 2018 | 06:39 a.m.

    Interesting video.  I'm curious if in your research, is there always one student - one iPad.  The video mentioned the class can have any number of devices.  Have you had the opportunity to observe/research when pairs of students use KinderTEK.  Also, could you say a little bit about the teachers' role in using KinderTEK.  Thanks!

     
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  • Icon for: Mari Strand Cary

    Mari Strand Cary

    Lead Presenter
    May 15, 2018 | 01:43 p.m.

    Hi Lisa - Great questions. The focus of our research has been students using KinderTEK independently. (In our controlled, comparison group studies, individual use is a requirement.) Independent use guarantees the data is that of the student whose account is being used and the student encounters more difficult material only when they’re ready. Because of this, the teacher (and researchers) can trust it to be an accurate reflection of student performance and mastery of KinderTEK content.

    In one of our informal studies, there is more flexibility. In one, a teacher had pairs of students use KinderTEK together. She specifically paired a high-math student with a low-math student with the hope that the higher-math student would provide modeling for the lower-math student. I believe she used “exploration mode” or “directed mode” for this purpose, rather than the “sequenced mode” of instruction. She reported that such an approach worked really well for a change-of-pace and very specific instructional purpose. Since data is kept separately for each mode, students did their own work in sequenced mode and did the paired or aide-assisted work in one of the other learning modes….the teacher could tell which was which while looking at the data. She still feels strongly that the sequenced mode is super important and best fits most instructional goals.

     

    KinderTEK is an instructional tool for teachers and students to use together, not a game for students to use all alone as their mood suits them. Thus, the teacher’s role in KinderTEK is an important one. First, it is imperative to decide the purpose for using KinderTEK…Intervention? Supplement? Free-time activity with a hidden instructional goal? With that in mind, the teacher will decide how (logistically) to integrate KinderTEK into classroom instruction (which mode? How often? How long each day? What classroom configurations?) and set up processes and expectations to help students use KinderTEK successfully.

    Once KinderTEK is being used by students, we HIGHLY recommend that teachers, aides, or parent volunteers, adjust student’s settings to fit each student and do spot-checks of student’s KinderTEK use while students are working and that they regularly check the student’s data. This is important because students sometimes don’t mention that they’ve run into a roadblock (e.g., with log on or with an activity they don’t understand) or that they’ve finished all the KinderTEK lessons. Sometimes students LOOK like they’re hard at work when they’ve really figured out how to use a completely different app and aren’t doing math at all! If the teacher doesn’t look, he or she will never know. If educators see any red flags or unexpected patterns in the data, they can intervene to help the student along, adjust behavior expectations, or change KinderTEK settings to help the student be more successful.

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  • Icon for: Jessica Lehr

    Jessica Lehr

    Undergraduate Student
    May 15, 2018 | 11:34 a.m.

    Hello Mari, 

    This video was very interesting to see how the app can help the students and teachers. I am currently majoring in Early Childhood Education with a minor in STEM. Next year I will be working with Kindergarten for the student teaching. The first question you asked was how would I frame ed tech, how would it differ, and what would be most successful for you? The school I’ll be student teaching at has a one to one ratio. Meaning all students receive their own iPad. Therefore, this would be a great aspect to incorporate in to my classroom. I would frame ed tech into my classroom during small group and station times. As a future educator I know there is the struggle of meeting each student’s individual needs. Through your app I believe that it would allow you to meet each student’s needs, while not setting back the whole class or challenging others. This app would allow students to work at their pace and would allow the teacher to see the progress that is being done. 

    My question to you is would the teacher play less of a role within the classroom, or is there way to incorporate the app while doing a whole group lesson?

    Great video, Thank you for sharing!

     
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  • Icon for: Mari Strand Cary

    Mari Strand Cary

    Lead Presenter
    May 15, 2018 | 02:07 p.m.

    Hi Jessica – KinderTEK is meant to help teachers provide additional and differentiated instruction, not replace their core instruction (especially because KinderTEK currently does not teach measurement or geometry).

    Teachers often ask us about using KinderTEK in front of the class or as a full-class activity. Though using KinderTEK in front of the class could be done, it would be “clunky” right now for two main reasons: (1) The app has built in response windows…if a student doesn’t respond, the app re-prompts, provides instruction, or moves on. To make the time to speak themselves or to call on students, teachers would have to pause the app and restart it again in a rather round-about way. (2) The app decides the “items”….there is currently no way for teachers to move on, request more items, or dictate WHICH items to show.

     We’ve actually considered making a version of the app for teacher use in front of the class and also for purposes of allowing students with dedicated aides to more easily use the app, but have not had the development funds available to do so within our existing grants. (If teachers out there feel that this would be a strong tool, please weigh in. It would be interesting to have folks interested in this feature join our educator panel to help us think through - prioritize - potential next steps!)

    As a side note, having a 1:1 device to student ration is awesome because it leaves all options open to teachers.

    • Our study teachers with good WiFi in their classrooms during math time love having the entire class use KinderTEK at once. In one block of time, all their student can experience differentiated math instruction and the teacher can circulate through the class to see first-hand what students are working on and whether they’re on task OR can check the data to see if any adjustments should be made for the class or individual students before the next KinderTEK session. If a student would benefit from additional teacher instruction, this is a great time to do that as well.
    • Teachers choose to use KinderTEK in groups smaller than the full class for a number of reasons (limited devices; WiFi that gets bogged down with many users; time is devoted to small group instruction; KinderTEK is only used for intervention). In those cases, teachers use KinderTEK with half the class at a time or in small groups (centers or at desks). Sometimes students are supervised by classroom aides, other times, they worked completely independently. Meanwhile the teacher works with other students.  
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  • Icon for: Jennifer Michlitsch

    Jennifer Michlitsch

    Parent
    May 15, 2018 | 01:46 p.m.

    Kinder TEK looks like a great tool! I definitely see the advantage of children being able to work more at their own pace, rather than being either towed along or held back by the pace of the rest of the classroom. And there's certainly no denying that making it feel like fun, rather than work, would keep my kids interested longer. In answer to question 3 (as a parent): I'd want a separate report. I'm (still) a bit apprehensive about learning with digital tools vs. tactile tools and people interaction, so I'd want to see the results and progress from this tool separately to give me assurance that it's working for my child (or to see that it's not).

     
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  • Icon for: Mari Strand Cary

    Mari Strand Cary

    Lead Presenter
    May 15, 2018 | 02:16 p.m.

    Hi Jennifer –I love seeing parents checking out this showcase! Thanks for weighing in.

     

    As researchers we’re digging into mountains of data to see just how effective KinderTEK is and for whom. That’s not reasonable for teachers or parents, so we’re still seeking the “perfect” reporting formats. Meanwhile, one teacher shows KinderTEK reports to parents because they tell a visual picture of students’ behavior and learning in KinderTEK that mirrors that she sees throughout the school day.

     

    Side note: As a parent myself, I’ve been torn over the years with contributing to “more screen time” for kids. Given that I’ve seen so many poor apps being used in schools, I wanted to help make whatever screen time there is, productive (especially because we’ve noticed apps installed on classroom devices just because of their name…regardless of their content, approach, or utility). I am of the “technology use is inevitable” camp…the KinderTEK team is working hard to convey that we’re building tools that need to be used correctly in order to be good for students and classrooms.

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  • May 15, 2018 | 05:53 p.m.

    This is a very nice video. I am curious about the teacher reports too. What did teachers say they would like to see?

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  • Icon for: Mari Strand Cary

    Mari Strand Cary

    Lead Presenter
    May 15, 2018 | 09:18 p.m.

    Thanks, Doris! Teachers tend to SAY they want a lot of detail. But, when it comes down to what they say they'll realistically USE, it tends to be far less. Midway through the year, when we ask teachers using KinderTEK for the first time what reports they've viewed, it's even less. But, we expect to see a lot more data use as teachers really figure out what KinderTEK can tell them (e.g., later in the school year or with their next class) and as they compare what they're observing during KinderTEK use in class to what the KinderTEK data says. This year, we helped by providing short professional development videos part-way into implementation. Next year, we'll do that earlier and more often and expect to see changes due to that as well.

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  • Icon for: Stephen Uzzo

    Stephen Uzzo

    Facilitator
    May 16, 2018 | 08:42 a.m.

    Thanks for sharing such a well produced video clip of your product! I would be interested to know if you have done any research about the ability for students using KinderTEK to solve real world problems that use math. While making solving equations fun is a great goal, such a powerful tool might also be able to help students think critically about integrating math into their everyday lives and other academic subject areas. Also, since students are working individually, wondering if you have thought about how the App might be used at home, on the train, etc., then integrate what they learn in the social setting of the classroom. It could be a great scaffolding tool for using math to solve more complex problems in other domains.

     
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  • Icon for: Mari Strand Cary

    Mari Strand Cary

    Lead Presenter
    May 16, 2018 | 12:02 p.m.

    Hi Stephen - We are very interested in helping students transfer their math knowledge to the real world, but we haven't had the opportunity to pursue those extensions within our KinderTEK projects thus far. We have been pleased to see that using KinderTEK does at least transfer to other types of classroom math activities. Students perform better on math assessments administered by the project, plus some teachers have shared with us that students participate more in math class and one principal was super excited by his students' progress monitoring assessments gains and attributed the scores to KinderTEK and another CTL project.

    The app is available in a wifi-supported version we use the most in our research and a device-only version that is better suited for home users (or classrooms with unreliable or no wifi). We've envisioned adding a portal to facilitate home-access to KinderTEK if a student is using it in class, but haven't had the resources to pursue that yet. in the interim, students could use KinderTEK independently of what they're doing in class. Until the teacher can see what students have done at home, the flipped approach your idea brings to mind could be problematic as it's unlikely all the students would have the resources, schedule, or supervision to support that home use. 

    It would be great to get feedback from teachers and other researchers/developers of how they'd extend KinderTEK into the "everyday life" domains.

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  • Icon for: Anushree Bopardikar

    Anushree Bopardikar

    Facilitator
    May 16, 2018 | 10:18 a.m.

    It's impressive to see how well-designed technology can help educators reach out to student populations with different needs and inclinations! Particularly in large sized classes, it is critical to equip teachers and students with such tools to generate learning experiences that are tailored to their needs. Your video mentions online resources, supports and tips to integrate this technology in classrooms. I was wondering if in addition to these supports, your project provides other kinds of PD opportunities for teachers seeking to incorporate KinderTEK in their regular teaching. Do you use any other strategies to help teachers understand how plan instruction based on data and reports from KinderTEK?

     
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  • Icon for: Mari Strand Cary

    Mari Strand Cary

    Lead Presenter
    May 16, 2018 | 11:49 a.m.

    Thanks, Anushree, for this set of questions. Traditionally, our curriculum development work and evaluation at CTL has relied on in-person teacher PD ranging from 4-24 hours, either initially or distributed throughout implementation and has sometimes included a coaching component. Over the years, this model has been harder and hard to sustain due to the difficulty in scheduling, the need for substitutes (paid either with district or project funds), and the concern that this approach probably isn't the most effective in the long-term. For the KinderTEK project, our initial, very local work did follow this in-person PD model. Teachers really enjoyed it - especially when we invited classroom aides (who often are the ones monitoring KinderTEK anyway!), but we didn't feel like the content sunk in. We found ourselves providing the same information one on one later on when the teachers finally came to a point where they needed it. As KinderTEK has moved out from our local area, we simply didn't have the resources to support in-person PD anymore. So,  for both these reasons, we've moved to on-demand, virtual PD. We're refining the system to hopefully allow principals or team leads to see whether and how teachers use that PD and to make it really interactive so that participants realize what they do and don't know, what steps they might still need to take to make their classrooms ready for KinderTEK, etc. For now, we include "how to plan instruction based on data and reports from KinderTEK" in that PD (there's a reports-specific module) and are constantly adding more in-depth modules for teachers really ready to take that leap. We're excited to see how teachers use those modules and related resources this year in the OSEP-funded study that allows schools to use KinderTEK in any way they wish and to adapt over time, if desired. We also expect to see better fidelity of implementation in our IES-funded controlled study as teachers use reports to improve students' engagement and use of the program.

    Some day, with more funding, I'd love to add in-app features that help teachers with ideas about what to do with the data they're looking. In the interim, as time allows, we can try to build explicit links into the online reporting tools for teachers using the hosted version of KinderTEK.

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    Anushree Bopardikar
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    Sara Fuhrman

    Undergraduate Student
    May 16, 2018 | 08:38 p.m.

     I love the idea of being able to see and track the student’s progress when they use this app. In the video it looks like the students are enjoying the math practice and are engaged in the activities. I could see myself using this or something similar in my future classroom to give me time for small group instruction and allow the students to have extra practice.  

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  • Icon for: Mari Strand Cary

    Mari Strand Cary

    Lead Presenter
    May 17, 2018 | 02:49 p.m.

    Hi Sara! Yes, kids really DO love using KinderTEK. Even students who know much (or all!) the material have fun using it. I think we've found a nice balance of math challenge and play (through the individualized lessons) and reward time (puzzle, memory game, scrapbook). In fact, in a summer program we worked in, kids "snuck in" KinderTEK time when they were supposed to be doing other activities! I count that as a win (just like parents probably don't complain when their kids read under the covers at night with a flashlight :)).

    Besides kindergarten whole class and intervention classes and first grade intervention contexts, we've  had teachers be really successful in using the app with EL students (who can learn what to do by watching the guide's hand moving around the screen if their English skills aren't quite enough to understand the instructions), students in Life Skills classes, and preschoolers.

    The different instructional modes and settings really allow KinderTEK to be used in all sorts of contexts, whether teachers and parents use the unhosted version on the app store or the hosted version used in our research all over the country (and hopefully available to the public in the next year)!

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