How Apple’s iOS 6 Guided Access Feature Helps Students Stay on Task
iPhone and iPad users have been waiting patiently for the release of iOS 6 and now they’re happy that it’s finally here. iOS 6 was finally released by Apple on September 19th with new and improved features that are both helpful and pleasing to the eye.
One feature in particular that teachers and parents like the most is it’s newest feature: Guided Access. With Guided Access, teachers and parents can help their students stay on task by locking their iPad into a single app and temporarily disabling controls on certain areas of the device. That way, teaching is made easier and students can focus on learning.
Let’s say you want a student to read from the Kindle app, but don’t want them to click on the controls on the top or bottom of the screen.
To begin using Guided Access on the Kindle app, you first need to enable it in your settings. Go to general and then accessibility, where you should see Guided Access. Touch Guided Access and slide to turn it on.
When you press the home button three times, the screen will show you the Guided Access page and it will tell you to circle areas on the screen you would like to disable. The circles you draw will create a shaded rectangle on the area you want to block out.
You can also disable hardware buttons, like the volume and power button, using options on the lower left corner of the screen. Once you’re satisfied, touch resume and your student is ready to read.
According to Scott Forstall, Senior Vice President of iPhone Software at Apple, single app mode is being used in more ways than one. During his presentation at the 2012 WWDC event in June, he said that some schools have started adopting iPads and administering tests on them while single app mode.
“Single app mode allows the teacher to lock the iPad into the test so that students can’t look up answers on safari,” he said.
It’s great that Apple is thinking about more than just their tech followers. With features like Guided Access, students with disabilities are able to move forward in their education and grow along with the rest of the community.
New Reports & Roster Copying
We’ve launched our new reports to utilize our Standards-Based Gradebook. In addition, our Summary Report uses all the data found in the gradebook (where it previously only utilized the data found in assignments assigned through Kite).
If you have data stored in the gradebook, check out the new reports!
Elementary school teachers can rejoice. Users can now copy the roster from a class you’ve already created when creating a new class (or editing a class that has no students)!
New Gradebook Updates
Hey educators! Welcome back to the new school year. We have a few gradebook updates to greet you that we think you’ll really enjoy.
If you don’t want to use assignment categories, you don’t have to. This is what the gradebook looks like if you decide not to (nothing has changed).
But let’s say Geography is a homework assignment and those weigh a little differently from classwork or tests. To add the category, click the assignment header like your normally would to edit the assignment.
You’ll get a new option labeled Add Category — it only says this if you haven’t created any categories yet. If you click that link, it’ll take us to this popup.
And from here, we can just fill out assignment categories and their respective weight percentages. When you close this box, the assignment will automatically gain the ability to modify categories.
Now you can select Homework from the list.
However, be wary. Once you’ve created categories, all assignments must have categories. Otherwise, your final score cannot be calculated and you get presented with this error!
That’s it! We’ll be rolling out more features associated with the gradebook in the coming weeks including Rubrics, support for Standards-Based Grading, and Report Card Generation.
Quick update; minor changes and fixes
We launched a few minor changes today.
When creating students in your class, you may optionally add a student identifier. This will help you keep track of students who have the same name and it will help administrators easily identify students on their end.
You can also edit student names by clicking the edit icon when you hover over them on the Classes page.
Thanks for your continued support!
Updates for the end of the school year
We just pushed out an update (my insomnia is your gain), that allows you to archive your classes. The New Term button (shown below) will archive all your current classes.
Archiving is not permanent! Visit the Archived tab (shown below) to check out the gradebooks for old classes, unarchive, or delete them.
The Market launch has been pushed back one week (boo!) as we decided to prioritize the archive feature for our teachers going into summer school. The Market will be available at the end of this month.
StartEngine’s Demo Day is next week (June 21) and it has been a fantastic experience thus far.
A big thanks to all the teachers using Kite and thank you for the continued feedback and support.
Have a great summer!
How my experience with a former student makes a case both for and against standardized testing
When I was teaching, we had a transfer student whom I will call Sammy. Sammy was a 6th grader who grew up in Indiana and was having trouble with math after moving to California.
Allow me to rephrase: Sammy did not know math. Outside of doing simple addition and subtraction, he had nearly no understanding of any concepts a 6th grader should know at that point. Anything studied in class was lost on him, understandably.
Over the course of that year, Sammy did extremely poorly on homework, quizzes, and tests. On paper, he proved to be an awful student, but Sammy far exceeded my expectations: he worked hard.
He really, really wanted to learn and improve. We had one-on-one sessions during breaks. I sat and watched him battle tears in front of the whiteboard. He volunteered to take on extra assignments. He came to me with questions over and over, sometimes the same ones. But he learned and I watched him grow tremendously.
By the end of the year, Sammy had become proficient in math and the following school year, he passed math with flying colors.
I’m telling this story for two reasons. Though Kite officially has no position on standardized testing, I think this story kind of makes a case for both sides.
Sammy did extremely poorly on paper, he did not measure up to the 6th grade math standards, but as a student, he excelled. Sammy will have the lessons he learned (both math and what can be obtained from hard work) for the rest of his life. It’s a shame that only half of those lessons are accounted for in a standardized test.
Sammy proved to everybody that he could do the work. That all he needed was guidance. The problem standardized testing hopes to address is that there are no “serious” repercussions to letting someone like Sammy slide by 5 years without learning any math. Other than love for the profession itself (which, most of the time, I imagine is enough), teachers have little at stake.
Whether or not standardized testing for accountability properly addresses that issue is a discussion in itself. Ideally, we have teachers who have the drive to make every single one of his or her students a better person (and in more ways than what can be measured on a test).
Updates abound! Here’s what’s new
We’re launching our new assignments page. The assignments page comes with several usability changes that were confusing some of our users.
- We’ve removed the distinction between an assigned assignment and an available assignment. When you assign an assignment, a progress bar and print icon will become available.
- We’ve changed the way adding questions works. When you add a question, a form will drop inline the assignment for you to fill out.
- We’ve changed the way you apply standards to questions and create custom standards. Finding your standard can be done by both drilling down through our advanced options or searching for keywords.
- Tags (previously custom standards) can be created by just typing the tag you want and clicking “Create and add new tag.” Tags can also be searched for in this way.
We’ve made some smaller changes as well.
- The gradebook now allows decimal values.
- The gradebook allows non-zero values.
- We fixed a bug causing students to display multiple times on the assignment review page.
We’re working hard to launch our marketplace, currently planned to be populated with ExamGen’s content.
Usability problems in content creation
Hey everyone! We’ve noticed users have been discouraged by our content creation tool; we get it, it’s a bulky tool and unpleasant to use. So, we’re announcing some upcoming changes.
- An overhaul of the content creation and assignments pages. We’re improving the usability in creating assignments, questions, and assigning work for your students. We’re removing the distinction between an “assigned assignment” and an “available assignment.”
- We’re working on a small question bank for anybody to use for free! This question bank will be comprised of a few hundred questions in varying grade levels for math and English.
- We’re working with a content partner to bring you their huge database of content available for cost. This content is aligned to both state standards and common core.