8th Sep 2014: Release Date for Redesigned ScootPad!

We’re very excited to announce the release date for a totally redesigned ScootPad ready for the 2014-2015 school year! We’ve re-imagined the ScootPad platform with your feedback in mind and made it easier to engage students and accelerate learning than ever before. Here’s what you can expect:

New Design
Every page has been redesigned to be easier to use with intuitive navigation.
Any Device
The new design adjusts to perfectly fit your desktop, tablet or mobile phone screen.
Online Instruction
Interactive instruction to help students learn common core concepts easily.
Interactive Assessments
20+ unique question formats (more than both PARCC and SBAC combined!).
Features You Wanted
New and enhanced features most requested by admins and teachers!
More Payment Options
Online ordering of site licenses and classroom plans. Pre-pay or pay as you go!
Important release details to note:
» Your existing accounts, classrooms, student/parent logins will not change
» You can start setting up your classes for the 2014-15 school year
» We’ll archive your 2013-2014 student data so print any progress reports by 8th Sep
» Upgrade your classrooms by 8th Sep. New pricing will go into effect on 8th Sep.
We invite you to join our FREE Back to School webinars which will go over the changes you can expect and also help you get started.
Teachers
Register Now!
Admins
Register Now!
Parents
Register Now!
Cheers,
ScootPad Team

 

Reaching Out to Parents to Jump Start Learning

This year, one of my goals is to set up a class email blast so I can more easily communicate with my students’ families. I only have about 15 families with email addresses signed up on ScootPad, which means the parents’ ability to be involved in their child’s use of the platform is diminished. I really want to reach more of my families this fall so they can be involved in their child’s learning.

Last year, I tried sending home notices, many of which never made it. I tried setting up a class blog: Most families never knew it was there. I tried to add notices to Friday Folders, but I often never knew what or if anything was communicated.

I love the idea of a class blog, but I was unsuccessful in getting families to go to it.

I love the idea of a class blog, but I was unsuccessful in getting families to go to it.

So I am going to try an app to send out email blasts and see if that takes me further.   How does that relate to ScootPad? Because, if I had that right now, I could send out a notice inviting kids who were off for the summer to get going on ScootPad so they come back to school more ready to learn!

emailicon

Any other ideas how to reach students and their families to help jump start learning at the end of the summer?

Cheers!
Dr. Michelle Anthony

 

 

Learning is Everywhere

My kids do summer swim team and my Saturdays are filled with cheering for them by the pool. After a particularly long, hot meet outdoors last Saturday, I told my kids they could unwind with some computer game playing time. I caught up on emails while listening to my son battle imaginary creatures.

But then, my little guy surprised me. From out of nowhere, he says, “Mom, does the ScootPad app work on this? I can’t find it.”

I tried to sound casual: “Oh? You’re looking for the ScootPad app…here, just click here to search for it.”

“I’m going to check out the class leaderboard. Let’s see how I’m doing.”

Checking out the class leaderboard can motivate different kinds of thinking and learning.

Checking out the class leaderboard can motivate different kinds of thinking and learning.

When he saw it, his competitive streak was set on red alert. “Fourth? How could I be fourth? I have almost 1000 correct answers! This is not right. Nihal has 1054 and I have 926. How will I catch up?”

Ahhh…a perfect real world moment for math! “Well, how many is he ahead of you by?” I asked innocently. I could see the thinking…the estimating…the calculating.

boy thinking

“More than 100, but not 150. Maybe 125.”

“OK, about 125. How many practices would that be if each practice is 20 questions?” Again, I saw the wheels turning.

“Oh my gosh, like 6 or 7. That’s a lot! But on the reading leaderboard I’m ahead of him by like 75. Hmmm…the reading points are lower than the math points.”

“Why do you think?” I asked pressing him to do some applied reasoning.

“Because math has more for every practice. Like twice as much as reading. So me being 75 ahead on reading means he has 6 or 7 practices there to do to catch up with me. It’s like we’re even. But I’m going to keep track of him. I bet he’s not working this summer on ScootPad and I am!”

I smiled. Not a single problem solved and yet so much problem solving and real world thinking were going on. I loved to see how he was applying his competitive streak in productive ways!

What are ways you foster applied thinking and reasoning?

Cheers!
Dr. Michelle Anthony

 

A Quick Trick to See Student Activity on ScootPad

It  has been a busy few weeks for me. My uncle died last week so I flew East for his funeral and to be with my family. The Fourth of July is a family holiday and also my wedding anniversary. Last Saturday my oldest daughter left for sleep away camp and my other two kids have since had their prelims which have led to their swimming championship meet, tomorrow. Needless to say, I have not been up on updating my assignment postings on ScootPad. In fact, today is the first moment of time I feel like I’ve had to myself in weeks!

The last time I assigned work on ScootPad, it was scheduled to be “due” on Monday. But here it is, Wednesday, and I’ve not added any new assignments. Still, I’d like to know if any students have been on and working. Undoubtedly such lapses in assignment-postings have happened to you as well.

Here’s a quick trick to know if students have been working, even without you “requiring” them to:

Simply backdate the assignment you are creating! When you are creating your assignment, simply choose a start date that has already passed. For example, I created the assignment below on 7/11/14, but I set the start date to 7/7/14, which is the date that my previous assignment was due. Doing so lets me see who has done what since that “beginning” date.

Choosing a start date that has already passed allows you to see who has been working and how they have been doing, even after the fact.

Choosing a start date that has already passed allows you to see who has been working and how they have been doing, even after the fact.

How do you keep track of who has been on and active when you have time away?

Cheers!
Dr. Michelle Anthony

Improve Student Learning on ScootPad With Online Resources

I typically write about the ways I use ScootPad in my GT (gifted/talented) classroom in Denver Public Schools. But I also use ScootPad with my kids at home. I’m lucky I can take some of the tips and shortcuts I learn at school and take advantage of them with my own children. One of these tips was a strategy I learned from a little boy in my GT program who is very bright, but a weak speller. As a result, he continuously scored poorly on the reading practices, because he would misspell many of his answers. He came up with the brilliant idea to use his Chromebook and look up the spelling of the words he needed. As a friend once told me, “teachers are wonderful thieves: stealing each other’s great ideas for their own classrooms.” How right she was… but not just teachers; parents as well!

computerlearning

search

So I taught my own little guy how to look up words he did not know how to spell on his computer as he was working. He took to it quickly! And more than simply helping him get the right answer, it’s also expanding his vocabulary and his understanding of homonyms! Recently, while doing a reading practice, he asked me, “I am looking up the word blue, but there are too many ways to do it. What kind of blue does it want? I think there is the color blue… but then there is b-l-e-w. Is that blew also? And this one is b-l-u-e but it says it means to be sad. Is that another kind of blue?”

What a great opportunity to talk about homonyms, spelling, vocabulary, and word meaning. And people say online learning will hinder meaningful conversations between parents and kids!

What conversations about learning has ScootPad opened for you and your kids?

Cheers!
Dr. Michelle Anthony

Back-To-School: Setup ScootPad For The New School Year!

We can’t wait for the upcoming 2014-2015 school year! We have a TON of great new features in store for you! We want to share a few things with you to help you get your school or classroom ready.

Teachers: New to ScootPad?

  1. Create a brand new classroom from your Teacher Dashboard (you’ll receive our Ultra Premium Plan Free for 30-days for the first classroom)
  2. Enroll your students, link parents, print student sign in cards and much more from the Students tab
  3. Watch our teacher training video or join a FREE Back to School Teacher Webinar to learn how best to leverage ScootPad for your classroom

Teachers: Used ScootPad Last Year?

  1. Archive” your old classroom – this can be done under the classroom Customize tab (this will clear past classroom data and prepare your classroom for new students)
  2. Delete your old classroom – this can be done from your dashboard. Only basic, non-upgraded classrooms can be deleted. (warning: deleting a classroom of students will also delete the student accounts if not attached to a parent account)
  3. Delete or Move old students – Move students to a new classroom or delete students (warning: this will delete the student account if the student is not attached to a parent account)
  4. Use your existing classroom or create a brand new classroom from your Teacher Dashboard
  5. Enroll new students, link parents, print student sign in cards and much more under the Students tab
  6. Enroll students with ScootPad accounts by sharing your classroom code (found in Customize tab) and having students join the classroom (from the settings page of student account)
  7. Watch our teacher training video or join a FREE Back to School Teacher webinar to learn how best to leverage ScootPad for your classroom

Parents: Setup your child’s account

  1. Create a brand new student account for your child from your Parent Dashboard (you’ll receive the Silver Engagement Plan Free for 30-days for the first child)
  2. If your child already has an account on ScootPad, update your child’s grade level – this can be done under the Customize tab
  3. If your child’s teacher has a classroom on ScootPad, request a “Parent Invitation Letter” from the teacher (follow instructions to enroll your child in the classroom)
  4. Watch our parent training video or join a FREE Back to School Parent webinar to learn how best to leverage ScootPad for your child

School/District Administrators: Signup for a FREE Admin Account

  1. Signup for a Free Admin Account for your School or District
  2. Add Teacher Accounts and Classrooms. Bulk upload students into classrooms
  3. Watch our admin training video  or join a FREE Back to School Admin webinar to learn how best to leverage ScootPad for your school/district

School/District Administrators: Trying to Clear Out Students, Classrooms, or Teachers?

  1. Teacher accounts can be “removed” (or disconnected) from the school through an administrator account, but only the teacher can delete his/her account.
  2. Classrooms can only be deleted if they have zero students enrolled and have not been paid to be upgraded through a teacher’s account
  3. Student accounts can be moved from an admin account, but cannot be deleted from an admin account.
  4. To learn even more, join a FREE Back to School Admin webinar.

For more information, visit www.ScootPad.com or click below:

Need help with the process? Give us a call 1-888-666-3106 (Option 1, Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm PST) or send an email to support@scootpad.com.

Best wishes for the new school year!

ScootPad Team

Balancing Standardized Testing and Classroom Learning

I had a parent of my daughter’s friend ask me the other day why we do so much testing with kids. To be honest, I feel we over test our students. Not just at my school, but at all schools. And we can’t hold schools accountable for the amount of testing they do: it’s the result of district mandates, which often come from the state, which is responding to federal laws and regulations. It’s obviously a very complex situation that no single teacher or school can control.

standardized-test

That notwithstanding, this parent asked me why we couldn’t just have a platform that monitored the kids work as they did it; why there was any need for assessments or tests at all. I smiled and said I was using just such a platform with my students and went on to describe the benefits of ScootPad practices. However, as much as I love ScootPad practices, and as much as I really am not at all a fan of testing, testing, testing, I do also believe there needs to be some formalized assessments. Not ones that replace the results and achievements students accomplish in their day-to-day efforts, but ones that actually inform a different kind of learning, or possible struggle.

That is to say, I have students who perform amazing on in-class work, assignments, and practices and yet struggle on assessments. This is important information for me to have. Similarly, if students are lackadaisical in class and then hit it out-of-the-park on an assessment, there is also important information for me to look at there as well. Demonstrating knowledge in more high stakes or pressured environments is an important component of growth and an important demonstration of knowledge. If my students are not able to successfully do this, especially if  they  are so competent in class, there is some discovery work for me to do.

So where am I on standardized tests? I think they serve an important function and provide useful information. But I also agree with this parent: there is a way to do that through a program like ScootPad. ScootPad can be used not only to track practices, but also to track long term learning and give formalized assessments. This allows the same important information to be learned, without losing weeks or months to testing that comes at a much greater cost.

What are your thoughts on the amount of testing we give kids… and what other options may exist to keep it better balanced?

Cheers!
Dr. Anthony

Finding Joy in the Small Things

School has officially ended for us. And like me, I think the kids need and deserve a break. But I am also aware that things like reading and doing learning activities often are practices of habit as opposed to activities that easily pop into or out of a schedule. Especially for students from disadvantaged backgrounds, where habits will dictate how they spend their time this summer. I worked hard to try to motivate my students to want to continue to think, learn, and expand their abilities over the summer. But even my own children have told me they want time off from all that to just play outside. And, really, how can you argue with that?

So imagine my excitement when I got the below email from one of my students the Monday after school let out for summer!

School finished on Friday...imagine my surprise to see this email the Monday after!

School finished on Friday…imagine my surprise to see this email the Monday after!

Knowing that one student was looking to log in, maybe others had as well…I decided to go check it out and this is what I saw:

Seeing two more students had logged in to Scootpad already made me smile!

Seeing two more students had logged in to ScootPad already made me smile!

Believe me, I see all the 0/3’s on there. That notwithstanding, I was so pleased for several reasons. First, at least 3 students had been thinking about practicing during the very first days of summer, when everyone is most excited to have no school anymore. Second, one student even did all 3 of the math practices I had assigned. When I went to look at her ELA practice, she had done all 4! Knowing that this had been a student I had struggled to get onto ScootPad at all during the year made it even more exciting. The other student who had logged on and done 1 math practice is so close to graduating a grade, I think he can taste it. He’s the kind of kid who loves a challenge, and I’m hoping that being so close to the opportunity to graduate a grade officially will motivate him to continue working.

Then, the next morning, I saw a post on my class’ Google+ account from a student. Granted, because my students all share my account, I’m not yet sure who this student is. But, less than a week after school was out for the summer, I had a nice handful of students continuing to challenge themselves on ScootPad!

This clever student connected with me through our class Google+ account.

This clever student connected with me through our class Google+ account.

It’s all about finding joy and success in the small moments. What small moments of success have you experienced recently?

Cheers!
Dr. Anthony

 

Evidence of Summer Learning

As anyone who has read my blog posts recently knows, I have put a great deal of effort into helping my students get excited about continuing to use ScootPad over the summer. I have no idea what to expect as summer goes on and their memory of my encouragement wears off, but I was pleasantly surprised the first week by the fact that 13 students of mine had logged in over the past 11 days. For me, that alone marked success, in that keeping kids engaged in learning in June is a near impossible feat!

But of course, I want more than simply to have students log-in. I want students learning! With the give and take in the classroom, and the opportunities I set up for my students to come in at lunch or recess to do ScootPad, I have a number of chances to interface with them about what is easy and hard for them. But with so few opportunities to do that over the summer, I have my eyes peeled for evidence of advancement.

Happily, I saw some today. “TJ” as I will call her is a good student, but one who has not been on ScootPad much over the year. Either she didn’t have access at home, or didn’t want to spend her free time at school adding on more learning…whatever the reason, she did not do more than was allotted in the times she had in class, and even then she was often behind in her work in general. Yet she is the one student who  did all 3 math practices and all 4 reading practices that I assigned for week 1–the first week school was out for the summer!

TJ's math practices for the first week of June

TJ’s math practices for the first week of June

Her scores were interesting: She did well on the last practice of Unit 2, but then took a nosedive for the first practice of Unit 3. I took a look at what was tripping her up in the new unit. Below was more-or-less what I saw across the board for the types of mistakes she was making: word problems, rounding, and measurement.

Mistakes TJ had made in the Unit 3 Practice 1 assignment

Mistakes TJ had made in the Unit 3 Practice 1 assignment

 

Normally, when I see this type of drop in scores, I do a check-in with the student. Not possible in the summer. But, to my delight, it is clear she persisted through the frustration of not doing well, and she applied what she learned from her mistakes to the very next practice. Take a look at hew new ability in the following practice:

TJ not only showed persistence, but also evidence of having learned from her mistakes!

TJ not only showed persistence, but also evidence of having learned from her mistakes!

For TJ to independently log in to ScootPad, challenge herself with a new unit and then persist with a difficult and frustrating practice shows tremendous growth for her from the beginning of the year. Happily, being the school GT teacher, I see a number of my kids over a number of years, so I will get to continue to work with TJ in the fall. She’s a great candidate for our Summer ScootPad-ers Pizza Party I am already planning for our return to school!

How do you measure growth when your students are no longer with you?

Cheers!
Dr. Michelle Anthony

New School Year. New ScootPad!

This August, we’re introducing a brand new design and a ton of new features making it easier to engage students and accelerate learning than ever before. You’ll enjoy:
New Design
Every page has been redesigned to be easier to use with intuitive navigation.
Any Device
The new design adjusts to perfectly fit your desktop, tablet or mobile phone screen.
Online Instruction
Interactive instruction to help students learn common core concepts easily.
Interactive Assessments
20+ unique question formats (more than both PARCC and SBAC combined!).
Features You Wanted
New and enhanced features most requested by admins and teachers!
More Payment Options
Online ordering of site licenses and classroom plans. Pre-pay or pay as you go!

To help you get a head start for the new school year with ScootPad, we will be announcing free webinars and training sessions shortly. Stay Tuned!

Cheers,
ScootPad Team

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