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In this new series, author and educator Aaron Quigley shows you how to stay up to date with the latest educational technology and classroom management techniques. Each week, he'll introduce you to a new tip you can use to be more efficient, and increase student achievement. Aaron covers concepts like the flipped classroom, Common Core Standards, and the role of social media in education. The series also covers a variety of productivity apps, learning management systems, and other technologies, using a project-based approach that simulates the real K–12 or university classroom environment. Check back often for new tutorials, every Monday with Teacher Tips.
- Hello educators and welcome to another week of Teacher Tips. This week we're looking at BrightLoop which is essentially a student performance tracking tool. Now with BrightLoop you can not only monitor each student's growth across a variety of classes as well as objectives in those classes but you also have the ability to add anecdotal information, pictures of student work, and even create differentiated groups, and assign different lessons to those groups. Let's go and take a look at how it works. Here in my web browser, I've navigated to app.brightlooplearning.com and I've signed up for a free account.
Signing up for an account is simple, free, and just takes a few seconds. Once you have an account signed up, BrightLoops is going to give you a demo classroom with some demo students in it so you can explore how this works. To get started, let's go and click on our demo classroom. Now once you're viewing a classroom you can assign students to the class. Simply clicking the Add Student button will allow me to quickly go through, type in a student name, and even assign a photo for each of my students. Students will always appear in this class regardless of what subject you're looking at. There's three different areas in which we can interact with students inside of the class.
Let's go and click on the Menu button in the upper left hand corner. Here if I select Classes, I'm going to go back to my class home page but if I'm in a class, or have a class selected, I now have the opportunity to Collect data for that class, Review that class, and even schedule lesson Plans for that class. Here in the Collect view, there's a variety of ways in which I can view my class. In the upper right hand corner, with the small student icon selected, I can just view the class as a variety of student icons. If I click on the list view, it's going to automatically sort my class into differentiated groups based on which groups need more attention, which groups are on track, and which groups are moving ahead.
And finally, I can click on the groups view. If I have students that like to be working together I can create a new group, name that group, and then add students to it. Using groups is a quick way to differentiate your lessons and to assign certain work to specific groups in your class. I'm going to go and click back on the student icon view. The last navigation feature I want to look at is the Subject button in the top of the screen right next to the Menu button. Currently it says Math, if I click on this button I'll notice that I have a drop-down menu for the main content areas such as Math, Reading, Writing, and Behavior.
I can also select to Add a New Subject and add whatever subject I choose in this field. With Math selected, I can see that there's a variety of Categories underneath the Math subject. For example, here if I select Measurement, I can then see that the Category of Measurement has a variety of Objectives. If I click on Estimate length, I can bring up that Objective, read the Objective and even choose to Select the Objective. When you Select an Objective, or a Category, or a Main Subject, you're now able to add notes, photos, goals, and lessons for students that are specific to that Objective, Category, or Subject.
For example, I'm going to go and click Cancel and come back to my main subject area. If I click on the Subject drop-down again and switch from Math to let's say Reading and then click Select Reading, you'll notice that the small icons next to each student name disappeared that's because students may perform differently in their Reading subject area versus their Math subject area and you can track students individually based on what Subject you're looking at. I also have the ability to go in and set Goals then based on Objective. For example, if I'm working in the Reading area and I have a Reading Objective, I have some students that may be struggling and I can go ahead and set Goals for them that are completely different from the Math Goals that student might have.
In order to add basic notations to a student you select the student by clicking on them and then you can add an icon such as Needs Attention, On Track, or moving Ahead, at the bottom. When you select one of these icons, a small icon will appear next to the student's name and now if I go back to the list view I can sort students based on how I've grouped them in these three different categories. Coming back to the student view if I select a student, I also have the opportunity to click on the Text button and here I can add a Text note about how the student's doing. If I'd like to I could also upload a photo for the student such as a picture of the project or even a picture of a student work that they've completed.
If I click on the Goal button, I can Define a Goal that the student's working on or I can even assign lessons to this student based on this particular objective that we're looking at. Now right away you may notice that it'd be great if I could add multiple information to multiple students. Well you can. I have Ben currently selected yet if I click on Marco, and click on Molly, you notice that I now have three students selected. The only way to unselect a student is to go back to that student and click on them. With multiple students selected I could quickly mark them as Needed Attention, On Track, or moving Ahead. I can also come down and have multiple students selected and add a note that would be appropriate for both students.
Once you've collect all the information on your students, the next step is to determine what do we do with this information. I'm going to go ahead and jump back over to our Math subject area, Select Math. I'm going to come back to the Menu icon, and let's go and select Review. Now from the Review page when you select a student in your class you're going to see notes that were made for that student across all Subject areas. So here when I look at Noelle, I can see that she has a variety of notes that happen to do with phonics, or organizing thinking, and even increasing number frequency. I can also look day-by-day and see how well she's done in class.
Whether she Needed Attention at a certain point, working Ahead, or On Track. At this point I also have the opportunity to add Text, Photos, Goals, and Lessons, directly to Noelle's profile. The last feature of BrightLoop is the ability to schedule lessons and even assign lessons to differentiated groups or to individual students. Let's go and click on the Menu button in the upper left hand corner and select Plan. Here we can see a weekly calendar of Plans and we can see that we have the opportunity to add individual students to a particular lesson for the day or even add groups to a particular lesson.
As you can see BrightLoop is a powerful tool for helping organize a lot of information about a lot of different students. It's a great tool for modifying and differentiating your instruction and assigning that instruction to students based on their current levels. I highly recommend you take the time to explore BrightLoop and see if it's right for you and your classroom.
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