With so many districts allocating funds in their budgets to get technology in the hands of students, and one-to-one tablet initiatives transforming the 21st Century Classroom, districts and teachers are seeking what apps they can use to enhance the instruction and learning already taking place. Since educational technology is a vast, ever-changing, ever-shifting landscape, teachers may be wondering why they need another app in their wheelhouse.
But what if we told you that it’s not another app, but the only app you will need in your class?
To understand why THiNKtech is the only app teachers will need, let’s consider how educators are using technology in the classroom. To engage students in meaningful work, teachers commented on using different apps for note-making and written responses, categorizing and classification, grouping, vocabulary acquisition, and practice, illustrated and graphic responses, questioning, activation of prior knowledge and making connections, recordings to capture unique insights, and quizzes and assessments.
That’s a lot of different functions needed to foster student learning in the 21st Century Classroom. With this in mind, teachers created THiNKtech: a hub for engaged, meaningful learning. In one easy to use app, educators have access to seven key functions that each promote collaboration among all students. When used together with our Build iT tool, the learning is limitless, and THiNKtech becomes the swiss army knife of educational apps.
Along with being a multi-function hub for learning, other key factors make THiNKtech the ONLY tool teachers will need in the classroom:
- We purposely made it simple.
THiNKtech is easy to use and uniquely designed with all learners in mind. Students no longer need to spend time and frustration learning how to use an app to become engaged, motivated learners. It’s as easy as typing in a URL and access code- and in seconds, they’re participating in meaningful, collaborative work.
This easy access eliminates the need for students to click around trying to find the activity or lesson. The only thing shown on their screen is the function teachers have launched in that moment, minimizing confusion and distraction.
Teacher feedback: “It seriously was easy to use. The first time I launched it in my class, I was anticipating some time for a learning curve. Like other apps, I figured I’d have to spend a period (or more) teaching students how to use the program. But instead, students typed in the URL, entered the code, and they were instantly able to do whatever function was on screen. There honestly weren’t any hands raised or concerns. The lesson started in seconds.”
- Everything teachers need for the digital classroom, all in one place.
We know that most teachers stick to using one or two apps that they are most trained, most comfortable with that will come with the least amount of frustration. But each of these learning activities exists in isolation- seldom do educators launch more than one app in a lesson, knowing that too much time and focus will be lost in having students launch, login, and literally switch gears. With THiNKtech’s seven different functions in one place, teachers no longer need to worry about opening and closing different tools and apps to foster student learning. Now, educators leverage the way technology is used in the classroom in a seamless, interconnected application.
Teacher feedback: “I was about to start a unit, and I wanted to see how students were connected to the topic, what they thought, what they knew- have a brainstorm to get students excited. Normally, I might do a carousel brainstorm around the room, or an anticipation guide where students can agree or disagree with key points. THiNKtech allowed me to do all these things and link them. I put a photo up on the screen and had kids create a word cloud in Think it about things they associated with it. After seeing all the different words and phrases the kids came up with- and where their thinking was similar and different, I decided on the spot to open a CheckIt and have the students use three of those words to explain how they relate together. I was able to capture authentic, unique insight using two different linked tools in one class period- on the spot. I would’ve never done that with time opening and closing two different apps.”
- It stimulates collaborative learning and responsive teaching.
Learning is in the hands of the students, not the teacher. With THiNKtech, educators aren’t telling their students what to think, how to interpret, or what insight is right or wrong. Instead, teachers are using the knowledge and unique insight into their students to shift the learning in their classrooms. When students have an audience other than their teacher or themselves, they work harder, think more critically, and perform a bit differently. When their ideas are shared on screen for their peers, they take different ownership and become excited about challenging not only their own thinking but their peers, as well. In response, teachers can use the knowledge and insight the students produce to ignite learning in all students. By responding to what students produce, share, and discuss, lessons transform.
Teacher feedback: Some of the best lessons are when students reach that “aha” moment, or even when a lesson takes a turn in a direction that I hadn’t even thought of. I am blown away but the different perspectives my students have, and when I allow them to share interpretations instead of telling them what is right or wrong, my classroom comes alive with discussion and collaboration. In one lesson, so many students were excited to talk about inferences they had, so I had them use SpeakIt to collect those ideas, allowing each student to have a voice instead of just a few driving the conversation. I noticed that even my low, or very shy students, shared their ideas because THiNKtech allowed these students to capture them.
- Assessment is ingrained in each tool.
At the end of each lesson, teachers should ask themselves three things: 1. What did my students learn today? 2. What evidence do I have of this? 3. How can it inform my teaching.
Though we know that this should be the reflection of each lesson, it can be daunting to ensure that this type of informed teaching is happening every single day. However, THiNKtech changes that. No matter which function educators use, they are assessing student learning and progress with real-time, concise, and meaningful data. Not only are students sharing their ideas with the class, but our easy export button allows teachers to collect clear evidence of what students know, how they are meeting targets, and where instruction needs to be adjusted.
Teacher Feedback: At the end of a lesson that I was using CheckIt for, I just pressed export and it downloaded all of my students’ responses and answers into an easy to read document. It allowed me to check for understanding by collecting short responses in one place- not 25 pieces of paper or emails. I was able to glance for patterns and group my students by who really gets it, who is almost there, and who I need to see. It was very easy and saved me a ton of time.
- It’s created by teachers, for teachers.
We created THiNKtech because we believe that when students and teachers work together in the classroom, learning is limitless. Through our own experience, we know teachers are spending countless hours planning, assessing, and grading- all while trying to engage students in exciting, meaningful work. That’s why we created THiNKtech- an app that will excite, motivate and challenge students while promoting collaboration. By knowing what teachers are already doing, simply because we are doing it, too, we have created a comprehensive tool that enhances the innovative teaching happening every day, and helps teachers maximize learning in the class.
THiNKtech is different; while other apps are created to support technology initiatives, our tools repackage them into learning initiatives. We know how much educators are already doing- we didn’t create THiNKtech to “fix” or “remake” teachers’ lessons; rather, we believe THiNKtech will enhance the instruction which in turn, transforms the learning. When technology and learning intersect, innovation happens. THiNKtech is at that intersection, connecting the two in ways that cultivate unique learning and engagement. With THiNKtech, students and teachers work together, transcending learning and achievement every day.