Tech Access Day 1 Needs to Be a Priority

CNdtvb1UkAAI0TyWeek one of a new school year – check!  If you’re back-to-school with students, I hope your year is off to a fantastic start.  This will be year four of 1:1 iPads for my students and me, and I still feel like I have a lot to learn.  I love how having access to technology empowers my students and me, but also keeps the learner hat firmly in place on each of our heads.  There will ALWAYS be a new tool and a better way of doing things, so we’re committed to learning together for the long haul.

This year has had a different start for me than prior years.  In the past, we have had “iPad Roll-Outs” several weeks into school.  That was a HUGE bummer, because getting to know students’ mathematical strengths and weaknesses through non-tech tasks had been so inefficient.  And… nothing says downer like giving a paper-pencil pre-test during the first week of school – blah!

Well, not so this year!  The majority of my students took advantage of the opportunity to KEEP their school-issued iPads over the summer, and have had them from Day 1 of school.  Additionally, most of the students who did not opt to keep their school iPads have personal phones, so most students who did not have access to school iPads yet were still able to take part in class activities.

We’ve been working through foundational ideas, like number properties and order of operations, and using tech tools for class tasks and homework has been so valuable.  I have never started a school year knowing so much about my students’ prior knowledge.  Many students have had homework nightly in ThatQuiz.  They crave the feedback.  They want to know what the class average was.  We’ve used ThatQuiz homework to practice AFTER a review lesson has occurred.  We’ve used ThatQuiz homework to pre-assess BEFORE a review lesson took place… then we duplicated the quiz AFTER the lesson, took it again, and celebrated our progress.

And no one seems to care that none of this is going in a gradebook.  We are focused on learning.  We are focused on growth.  At first, the question, “Is this for a grade?” happened often.  Now, they aren’t even asking about that.  They just want to know how they did, how the other classes did, and, when given the chance to try again, if they did better.

I am swimming in feedback and data, and it’s helping shape my teaching, communicate with students, and with parents.

How important is it to have access to devices on Day 1 of school?  Now that I’ve experienced it, for me it’s HUGELY high priority.


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2 Responses to Tech Access Day 1 Needs to Be a Priority

  1. Nikki says:

    Is that screen shot data you’re receiving from That Quiz? We’re going 1:1 this year with Chromebooks and I’ve definitely heard (read) you mention this program before but I had forgotten about it. What do you feel are the pros/cons of That Quiz?

    I love how eager your students are for feedback!! Hope I can instill that in my students this year-any tips?

    I’ve learned so much from you! Thanks for posting about this 🙂

    • Cathy Yenca says:

      Hi Nikki!

      The circle graphs are from a Nearpod report, the red and green responses are from Socrative, and the dull green scores are from ThatQuiz.

      ThatQuiz is a completely FREE web-based assessment platform that happens to favor math when you explore the main screen at It generates random quizzes based on constraints you choose on the left side of the screen once you choose a topic. It is best used when a teacher creates classes and gives students their own logins, because specific quizzes can be assigned to classes, and the teacher has access to the data. Quizzes can also be duplicated and taken again. Not everything can be assessed well with ThatQuiz, but its ability to quickly assess, archive data, and even do item analysis has been so helpful, particularly at the start of a school year. I like matching and multiple choice quizzes, but syntax can be a bugger for open-ended fill-in-the-blank type questions. You can create your own quizzes completely from scratch as well, or browse quizzes that other teachers have already created. Check out “ThatQuiz” in my tag cloud for more classroom ideas, and read this to begin learning more about it —>

      SO WORTH setting up password-protected student logins – as soon as I get my class rosters every year it is the FIRST thing I do! 🙂 Here’s my ThatQuiz ThingLink for 2015-16 —>

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