979 Views
  1. Mari Strand Cary
  2. https://education.uoregon.edu/people/faculty/mscary
  3. Senior Research Associate
  4. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  5. University of Oregon
  1. Lina Shanley
  2. https://ctl.uoregon.edu/about/staff/lina-shanley
  3. Research Assistant Professor
  4. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  5. University of Oregon
  1. Cathy Watkins
  2. https://ctl.uoregon.edu/about/staff/cathy-watkins
  3. Research Assistant
  4. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  5. University of Oregon

KinderTEK

R324A110286, H327S140019, R305A170044

2020 (see original presentation & discussion)

Grades K-6, Informal / multi-age

KinderTEK is an engaging, interactive iPad-based math program. It was designed to improve students’ math outcomes through learning activities focused on whole number concepts. We see it as a first step in broadening student access and participation in STEM. KinderTEK incorporates kindergarten level math, technology development principles and principles specifically shown to be important for students struggling with early math.

With federal funding, KinderTEK has evolved to provide differentiated instruction to PreK-Gr3 students in general ed, special ed, informal learning and home contexts. Brief learning trials and pilot studies were conducted throughout development to ensure the quality and effectiveness of the program; a two-state efficacy study is nearing completion.

KinderTEK offers three instructional modes and engagement supports used by students with a range of learning and behavioral challenges. It provides students records of their own learning and gives teachers options of controlling content and presentation. As a result, students experience engaging, individualized math instruction, assessment, practice and review, as well as customized rewards, progress monitoring, and formal reporting. KinderTEK's robust data dashboard, website (https://kindertek.com/) and implementation resource library (with videos, webinars, and printable training and classroom supports) support teachers and administrators in implementation and data-based decision making.

We will share KinderTEK features and users' perspectives about KinderTEK and provide links to free, downloadable materials and implementation resources. During the interactive discussion, we can talk about how the program evolved over time, specific ways teachers are implementing it, our new home-school connection feature (particularly promising for distance learning) and much more.

 

Resources:

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Original Discussion from the 2020 STEM For All Video Showcase
  • Icon for: Mari Strand Cary

    Mari Strand Cary

    Lead Presenter
    Senior Research Associate
    May 4, 2020 | 09:01 p.m.

    Welcome to KinderTEK! After almost a decade of iterative classroom research, KinderTEK has been made available to the public and is increasingly being used across the U.S. and beyond. Our team is excited to participate in this STEM showcase.

    We’d love to engage with a varied audience, including at least the following:

    • Educators and families of preschool and elementary students who think this might be a good fit for their students and contexts or have identified major needs in the STEM curricular/ed tech space that might be our next great endeavor
    • Administrators who wonder about the advantages and disadvantages of introducing this educational technology into their school and district offerings
    • Policy makers and funders who could help us strategize how to get the word out about the program and/or take KinderTEK from an iPad to a cross-platform experience
    • Other developers and researchers who are interested in collaboration or have great solutions to share that would help our very small, grant-funded team continue to make an impact in young students' lives
    • anyone thinking about ed tech's great potential

    As the conversation goes on, check out the attached fliers and our website, https://kindertek.com/, to learn more. If you’re motivated, download KinderTEK from the Apple App Store and check it out yourself! Sometimes you don’t know what to ask ‘til you’ve experienced it for yourself!

    Can't wait to talk to you soon!

     
    1
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Kristin Flaming
  • Icon for: Abigail Levy

    Abigail Levy

    Facilitator
    May 4, 2020 | 10:38 p.m.

    I appreciate your introduction to KinderTek. In your description, you mention that your intent was to make sure KinderTek worked right out of the box, and that it's most effective when teachers integrate KinderTek into their daily practice. I'm curious about the variety of ways that teachers use KinderTek in their classrooms, and the kind of supports that teachers needed in order to use it most effectively - in particular whether and how teachers used KinderTek to engage students in math talk?

  • Icon for: Mari Strand Cary

    Mari Strand Cary

    Lead Presenter
    Senior Research Associate
    May 5, 2020 | 06:32 p.m.

    KinderTEK can be used with different students for different PURPOSES, e.g.,
    • Kindergarten readiness tool for preschoolers
    • Intervention for early elementary students struggling with kindergarten math content
    • Kindergarten math supplement (even “homework”)
    • Positive, math-based screen time for kids in after-school programs, daycares, or home

    Since KinderTEK addresses the most foundational math content, we really encourage teachers to be strategic about who will use it and how often and in what instructional mode. The following approaches can be mixed and matched!
    • When/context? Small group, centers, worksheet time, pull-out intervention, special education classrooms, free-choice activity, “homework”
    • Who? Alone (as designed), in peer pairs, working with aide
    • Immediate goal? Learn the content in KinderTEK, preteach or revisit content, practice concept being worked on in today/this week in class, practice/fluency building, reward activity

    My team will answer the question about supports and integrating into daily practice in a separate post. Meanwhile, also see the “expectations” posts, below.

  • Icon for: Cathy Watkins

    Cathy Watkins

    Co-Presenter
    May 5, 2020 | 08:16 p.m.

    We have seen success with the full gambit of implementation implications. The majority of teachers implement the app with the default settings and find success with no additional support needed. The concepts and vocabulary tie in to the curriculum for early learning math skills with built in rewards to assist with motivation. We've been told students will get excited when they hear familiar concepts saying "I do that in KinderTEK"!

    We have seen teachers use directed mode, which allows you to choose particular skill sets to work with. They've reported success with this, as the app can parallel classroom topics and give students additional practice or additional instruction in the skill set as needed. Some teachers have reviewed activities as a class, then have the students work on their own in the iPad. 

    A non-math but vital component to learning, as Mari mentioned above, teachers enjoy peer sharing to boost engagement and fun! KinderTEK has a built in reporting system for engagement. We have seen a lot of success when teachers use this as a self monitoring and self reporting tool and use it to celebrate setting and meeting goals with students individually and as a class. 

  • Icon for: Mari Strand Cary

    Mari Strand Cary

    Lead Presenter
    Senior Research Associate
    May 5, 2020 | 08:32 p.m.

    KinderTEK really can be used in its default settings on Day 1. We have a quick-start guide and a list of web addresses to whitelist so that students and teachers don't run into any tech glitches. We offer brief, on-demand interactive webinars, how-to videos, and how-to's to familiarize teachers with KinderTEK's features. The biggest advice is to try it for a bit as a student and teacher and then monitor usage. If kids are engaged with the program and making continual progress, it's working!

    By teaching critical concepts and math models and using key vocabulary accurately and consistently, KinderTEK is giving kids the knowledge, words, and confidence to engage in productive math talk with their peers and teachers.

  • Icon for: Jacqueline Genovesi

    Jacqueline Genovesi

    Facilitator
    May 5, 2020 | 09:21 a.m.

    Thank you for sharing your work. You mention that KinderTek offers supports for learning differences. I would love to learn more about these supports especially for teachers and families that might want to use this for students with dyscalculia or other learning differences.

  • Icon for: Mari Strand Cary

    Mari Strand Cary

    Lead Presenter
    Senior Research Associate
    May 5, 2020 | 07:02 p.m.

    KinderTEK was conceptualized and designed to help students with- or at-risk-for math learning disabilities. The instructional approach comes from our work developing teacher-led explicit instruction (both core and intervention) conducted at the Center on Teaching and Learning (CTL) at the UO. All the principles called for in those approaches are present, just in an individualized learning format. The app is almost text-free, relying on audio on and onscreen demonstrations to convey lesson content.

    We demonstrate what we want students to learn and do, help students use high-impact math models, “fade” scaffolding as students gain knowledge, and provide hundreds of opportunities to respond with immediate, affirming or corrective feedback. The private learning environment seems to give students permission to participate and TRY even if they think they’ll make a mistake. No one will know and they learn from that mistake and get to try again. We set students up to be successful in a meaningful way so that they make progress through the program and we’ve built in teacher alerts and safety valves if they get stuck.

    Beyond the instructional approach, adults can adjust what indicators appear on screen as students work, whether persistence or mastery (or the default balanced approach) drives embedded rewards, the degree of control students have, how much “think time” is provided, and more. We also have an “engagement rate” feature that has been used in really creative ways by teachers. It reports how often students respond when given the opportunity. Higher rates indicate higher engagement. Lower rates help teachers (and the development team) identify students who might benefit from different settings, might need an extra bit of math instruction from the teacher, or who don’t understand something about the data based. Many teachers have been reviewing these numbers with kids at the end of KinderTEK time or at the end of the week and kids are often super-proud to show how well they’ve been trying to learn math!

  • Icon for: Mari Strand Cary

    Mari Strand Cary

    Lead Presenter
    Senior Research Associate
    May 5, 2020 | 06:32 p.m.

    Student EXPECTATIONS are critical to KinderTEK’s success.

    • Though KinderTEK is fun, it’s not a typical game. It’s important for teachers to make clear to students what the goal is. If students are expected to learn, for example, they should expect to stay on task, make some mistakes and to struggle a bit.
    • KinderTEK lets students “pretest out” of each activity in turn if they already know the material. That means higher performers will move really quickly at first. At some point though, they’ll probably hit something they haven’t mastered. At that point, they may spend a few sessions on a particular skill. Give your students a heads up about this so they don’t get super frustrated and remind them their goal is to learn!
    • Clear and consistent classroom expectations and management are key. If they exist, students are quick to transfer those to individual iPad and KinderTEK use. Students tend to do what we expect them to do. We have suggestions and tools to help teachers integrate technology into their classrooms, but teachers’ management approaches can make a big difference.
  • Icon for: Mari Strand Cary

    Mari Strand Cary

    Lead Presenter
    Senior Research Associate
    May 5, 2020 | 06:40 p.m.

    TEACHER EXPECTATIONS are critical to KinderTEK’s success. KinderTEK is powerful, but not magic.

    • It’s super helpful for teachers to use KinderTEK as students in order to fully understand how it works. Don’t be afraid to try different settings and see how the experience changes!
    • Regular use is important if the goal is for students to learn from KinderTEK. In sequenced mode, KinderTEK starts at the most basic content and moves on to more advanced content. Without time to reach that advanced content, students won’t learn it. (If a student already knows all the content, sporadic use might be just fine.)
    • Most kindergarten teachers don’t give instructions for a 15-minute individual learning activity, walk out the classroom door and assume that everyone will stay on track or be successful. (Pause and imagine that, actually……) Similarly, teachers and parents should really keep an eye on use – both in the moment and through the reports in the app or online. There are easy ways to tell that a student isn’t learning or engaged and also to see that a student is making really rapid progress through the content. Adults can take just a couple minutes every few days to make sure what they WANT to be happening IS happening. If not, a few simple adjustments can make all the difference. We have great resources for this on our website and are always happy to offer suggestions.
  • Icon for: Alison Billman

    Alison Billman

    Facilitator
    May 6, 2020 | 01:23 p.m.

    Thanks for sharing your project. It is clear that careful thinking and designing has made an engaging tool that is easy to use both for kids as well as for adults. When thinking about applications and technology for young children I always wonder to what degree that tool supports the children's facility with the language and discourse that are associated with the content. For example, some of the kindergarten CCSS math standards require that students analyze and compare geometric shapes. Also, the math practices include reasoning abstractly and constructing viable arguments. Does the application support children in acquiring the language and discourse of mathematics and if so how? If not, what guidance do you provide teachers to help them connect language to the experiences that students have with the technology? 

  • Icon for: Mari Strand Cary

    Mari Strand Cary

    Lead Presenter
    Senior Research Associate
    May 6, 2020 | 06:37 p.m.

    Thanks, Alison -- This is really something we'd like to explore more. Indeed, some of our past proposals have included "bridging activities" to explicitly provide students opportunities to make those connections. KinderTEK primarily contributes in this area by MODELING math talk, strategies, etc. Having seen that teachers use the app for peer partner work (something we did not anticipate or design for), we could perhaps capitalize on that and support discourse, argumentation, and such. The content covers the three common core standards related to whole numbers; it does not address measurement or geometry. We've discussed extending it to include those areas though!

  • Icon for: Lina Shanley

    Lina Shanley

    Co-Presenter
    May 7, 2020 | 01:52 p.m.

    Hi Alison. Thank you for your comment. You bring up some very important considerations regarding the potential limitations of individualized educational technologies. We have begun to explore options for building resources to support the implementation of in person activities, discussions, and opportunities to build argumentation and reasoning skills within the KinderTEK system. In the not so distant future, we are hoping to have an opportunity to build more KinderTEK tools to help bridge technological and traditional contexts drawing on the Standards for Mathematical Practice and NCTM guidelines. 

  • May 6, 2020 | 05:08 p.m.

    I really liked learning about this system. I was especially impressed with your attention to the data dashboard and wondered how teachers were using the data to make instructional decisions. A teacher also shared that students want to see their progress, which is expected, since we foster that kind of achievement orientation. Is there much discussion among your research-teacher partnerships of how to help students develop a learning (or mastery) orientation? Than you for sharing this!

  • Icon for: Mari Strand Cary

    Mari Strand Cary

    Lead Presenter
    Senior Research Associate
    May 6, 2020 | 06:30 p.m.

    Thanks, Mitchell, for checking in.

    Regarding data-based decision making -- We've seen teachers use reports for grouping students for small group lessons (e.g., grouping students who have not ye encountered a particular topic or those who seem to be "stuck" in it), identifying strengths or gaps in knowledge they were not yet aware of, identifying students who might benefit from different KinderTEK settings, knowing which students would be ready for different supplemental material, sharing with parents and more. In general, teachers don't use the reports as much in the beginning as they do later in their first year of implementation or in subsequent years. We're excited to see how (and how much) teachers use the reports outside of study contexts (since during studies, they know the research team members are monitoring student data, implementation, etc.!)

    Regarding student achievement orientation -- KinderTEK really is structured to support the learning/mastery mindset more than external rewards mindset. Stickers appear as students work and appear at different frequencies for different activities and as rewards for a MIX of perseverance and mastery. This seems to help kids try their hardest. As well, in the default sequenced mode, kids "unlock" new activities by mastering previous ones. While students work, provided feedback emphasizes trying, working hard, etc. as much as possible. The reports viewable to the child at the end address engagement, progress through the curriculum, and celebrates "in progress", not just "mastered." The "engagement" rate shown to teachers and students is our most-used stat/report...it doesn't consider accuracy, but simply responding when given the opportunity. Teachers have found this highly correlates with reality and is a super useful way to connect with students, keep them on-task, and even to show to parents as data-based indicator of a child's on-task behavior in the classroom more generally, etc.

  • May 7, 2020 | 05:37 p.m.

    Super interesting! I'm so excited to see engaging learning technologies for young kids :) I would be interested in learning more about children's behavior in the game. In one of the videos on the researcher app, I saw that a child picked up a number, but hesitated, and then put it back! It looks like the child is really actively thinking rather then going through the app using "trial and error" approach. I wonder if the log data are available, and whether we/you would be able to explore the relations between math knowledge, thinking, metacognition, and executive function using the data.  
    I would also love to see how different number concepts are related to each other in the app. For example, I see tasks on  counting and comparison, number ordering, and number composition/decomposition.  It would be really cool to explore how these skills develop (and co-develop), and how they support each other over time! 

    I can't wait to learn more, meet the team at conferences (when the world opens up again), and continue the conversation  :D 

  • Icon for: Lina Shanley

    Lina Shanley

    Co-Presenter
    May 7, 2020 | 06:07 p.m.

    Hi Jenny. Thanks for the positive feedback! I'm so glad you noticed the child's behavior in the video. I think we see quite a bit of that type of behavior from KinderTEK users because the app uses corrective feedback loops to insure that students are learning and completing math practice activities correctly (rather than guessing and checking or a trial and error approach like you mention). In the model and guided practice phases of activities, students receive immediate corrective feedback and reteaching, when necessary. While we definitely hypothesize that this instructional approach supports the development of conceptual understanding, deeper thinking, and more robust math knowledge, we have not had a chance to investigate many of those process questions (and others you mention) yet. I, too, think it would be really cool to examine skill development, relations between various domain general and domain specific skills, and the co-development of different foundational math concepts using KinderTEK log data.

    I have plans to look a bit at the co-development of math skills and a handful of domain general cognitive skills (i.e., brief working memory, visual spatial skills, phonological memory, and fluid reasoning skills) for a subsample of KinderTEK study participants. Hopefully, I'll have a conference presentation or publication to share soon. I'd love to talk more-- one way or another!

  • May 10, 2020 | 08:54 a.m.

    Hi Lina, 

    It's exciting to hear that you have plans to explore cognitive processes underlying children's interaction with KinderTEK  :D

    I would love to keep in touch and am happy to talk more at conferences, via email, or both. I will definitely keep an eye out for upcoming presentations/ publications on KinderTEK! 

    Best,
    Jenny 

  • Icon for: Hsiu-Wen Yang

    Hsiu-Wen Yang

    Researcher
    May 11, 2020 | 11:10 a.m.

    Hi Thank you for sharing this interesting project. 

    It is good to know that this APP is designed to help students with learning difficulties. I wonder if the project considers providing  adaptations for children with physical disabilities, hearing impairment, etc. 

    Thanks! 

  • Icon for: Cathy Watkins

    Cathy Watkins

    Co-Presenter
    May 12, 2020 | 01:32 p.m.

    Thank you! Expanding adaptations is definitely something we have been considering and goal of the project. We have been having those conversations and exploring ways to add modifications for hearing impairment, visual impairment, physical disabilities and for English Language Learners.

  • Icon for: CarlaDean Caldera

    CarlaDean Caldera

    Informal Educator
    May 11, 2020 | 03:25 p.m.

    Hello Mari & team, Thank you for sharing this wonderful project, the interest shows in the children smiles. Keep up this awesome work! CarlaDean

  • Icon for: Cathy Watkins

    Cathy Watkins

    Co-Presenter
    May 12, 2020 | 01:19 p.m.

    Thanks so much! We do enjoy making children smile, especially when they do so while learning!

  • Icon for: Kristin Flaming

    Kristin Flaming

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 12, 2020 | 01:17 p.m.

    This is a really interesting program. I do like you are meeting the teachers and children where they are at and adjusting the program based on feedback. Have you seen an increase in use over the past few years with parents that home school?

  • Icon for: Cathy Watkins

    Cathy Watkins

    Co-Presenter
    May 12, 2020 | 01:26 p.m.

    Thank you for your interest! The program has been primarily in the research phase. As the number of public users are increasing, the bulk of the participants remain school and classroom users. We are very excited to see the growing variability of users and applications for use. With the recent changes, the home component has been a wonderful addition to the features we can offer. We are getting positive feedback from teachers and families.

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