As district leaders struggle to bring devices and internet access to students, teachers face their own challenges as they leap into remote learning. There’s the daily barrage of emails about forgotten passwords and questions about where to find apps and files. Then there’s the constant worry and wonder, “Are my students actually accessing the work? How much time are they spending on their learning? Who’s struggling and needs my help?”
ClassLink’s Teacher Console and My Backpack features can help and both are easy to find from your school or district’s ClassLink LaunchPad. With Teacher Console, teachers can communicate important information, use analytics to check student engagement, and personalize class resources. My Backpack is a virtual backpack where students can see all of their classes and launch apps assigned by teachers to each specific class.
Here are some specific ways you can use ClassLink’s Teacher Console and My Backpack features to ease the challenges of remote learning.
*Note, If you don’t have access to Teacher Console or analytics, contact your school or district. These features are available for schools using RosterServer, and administrators must provide access.
1. Personalize apps and resources for your classes
From the Teacher Console, you can personalize the apps (both free and paid-for apps) available to each of your individual classes. You can also easily add—and then later remove—shortcut links to daily lesson plans, related websites, or specific files for students to use for projects or lessons. The process is so easy, you can add, remove, or change these links daily, depending on your lesson plans.
All of these resources and apps are then accessible to students in one easy-to-find space through My Backpack. Students can focus on learning with everything they need for a specific class, lesson, or project easily accessible in one place.
2. Understand which apps students are using and for how long
With students learning from home, it’s tough to know if students are engaging with online resources. Within the Teacher Console, you can see detailed usage analytics that help you understand which apps students are logging in to and for how long.
You can even view a particular app’s usage stats drilled down to individual students...and Heatmaps will quickly show you the total number of hours and minutes students spend using groups of apps daily.
Let’s say you’re tracking students’ progress with a reading program where they’re being urged to read for 15 minutes daily. A quick look at the analytics in Teacher Console can tell you who’s on track and who needs support.
Kimberly Gunn, Coordinator of Curriculum, Instruction, Assessment, and LCAP at Travis Unified School District says these analytics are crucial information for teachers in her district.
“Especially at a time when we don’t have students in front of us, this is a super important piece of engagement,” explains Gunn. “We want to know what students are doing. With ClassLink, we can measure engagement, see how many students are actually accessing the curriculum, and which curriculum they’re accessing. All of that information is available and visible to our teachers.”
In other districts, teachers use the analytics accessible through Teacher Console to take remote attendance as well as measure time spent in particular applications.
3. Catch problems early
Easy access to analytics can also help you quickly address issues before students start falling behind. That’s what happens at Travis USD, explains Gunn.
“Teachers being able to see who’s in the app and who’s not, that is crucial,” she explains. “If I’ve got somebody who’s logging in, but they’re only on for 10 seconds, well, what’s wrong? We use it as a diagnostic.”
At Travis, teachers then reach out to the student to figure out the exact problem. Often, it’s a technical issue where an app needs Flash to run or something along those lines.
However, without access to that data, Gunn says the teacher might never catch the problem. She says parents and students may not report technical issues. Instead, they get frustrated and move on to something else. Especially if they aren’t sure who to contact for an answer.
“Those analytics give us the ability to reach out preemptively instead of waiting for them to get frustrated,” she explains.
4. Help students stay informed
Communication is often another challenge during remote learning. Students are sifting through dozens of e-mail messages and many are missed or forgotten. To keep communication on track, teachers can post announcements to specific classes through Teacher Console. From assignments, to notes highlighting new resources, students immediately see notices when they enter a class through My Backpack.
Ready to use Teacher Console and My Backpack to improve remote instruction? Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact your EdSuccess or Engagement team member.