Naiku Newsletter May 2012  Like Naiku Update on Facebook
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We've been thinking a lot about how the integration or intersection of education and technology lately. It is afterall why we started Naiku. We believe the power of technology can be harnessed appropriately to improve education.
 
We posted several blogs that address this issue, one of which where we ask why we still have computer labs. We spoke at several education and technology conferences. Corey participated in a panel of High Tech entrepreneurs at the Minnesota High Tech Conference. Adisack presented the Naiku story Local Heroes Panel at the cefpi (un)conference that brought together educators, designers, and architects to work together to transform education. Later this week, Adisack will be speaking at the MASE Best Practices Conference in Brainerd, MN on how to use Naiku for RTI.

We love meeting you at conferences and hearing from you via phone or email. Let's continue to stay in touch.

Best,

The Naiku Team


1. What's New in Naiku
New Features

Over the past months, we've added so many new features (big and small) that it's almost impossible for me to list my three favorite here. But what the heck, I'll give it a try. 
  • Importing Standards. When you import an assessment, you can now also set the standards for those items in the assessment being imported. It's a fast way to transfer your tests to Naiku. Go to Assessments and select Import Assessment. 
  • New Team Reports. We've updated the Team reports. Now you can compare your results by your state or Common Core Standards. Creating Teams and sharing assessments with that team is a great way to enhance your PLC practice. You'll have powerful and insightful data to act upon.
  • Knowledge Base Articles. Well, this really isn't a new feature. But it's definitely worth a shout-out. We've added some knowledge base (how-to) articles on Naiku. We've also added more screencasts that illustrate how to do things in Naiku. If you haven't read or viewed these, please check them out at support.naiku.net.
Upcoming Features!

We're busy at work adding new features to Naiku. One of the biggest things we're working on now is to integrate assessments with content. Based on the test results on Naiku, you can now direct students to targeted learning resources (e.g., worksheets, apps, videos, news article). You can also find teaching resources for yourselves that will help you differentiate instruction. Stay tuned and let us know your ideas on how you'd like this to work. 
 

2. The Coach's Corner
Many of you have met Dan McGuire (via email, phone, webex, and in person). Dan leads the Naiku Client Services division. We call him the "Naiku Coach." This will be a regular section of the newsletter where Dan will share his thoughts on the integration of education and technology.

Naiku Star Teachers

One of the most satisfying aspects of the Client Services work at Naiku is the opportunity to collaborate with all of the different professionals in a school. The Naiku platform creates new possibilities for students, teachers, administrators, and even parents. Too often these days, it seems, the relationships between the various roles that are necessary to educate our children get strained. Teaching and learning is an incredibly complex process, and it is made more so by all of the new opportunities that advances in information and communications technology present at an ever increasing rate. So, it's not an accident that the team at Naiku includes representatives from all of the various roles in a school. The Naiku team includes K-12 administrators, researchers, business managers, teachers, and technology specialists – and we're all parents of K-12 students.

I've found over the years in my career in education that people who work in schools are fun to be around, and the schools that have chosen to use Naiku are schools that are eager to find solutions to the complexities of today's educational landscape. So, at Naiku we get to work with the innovators and pioneers, the cream of the crop. We have kindergarten teachers using Naiku to assess early literacy, middle school math teachers who are flipping their classroom (see the article below by Len Beard), and high school A.P. History teachers using Naiku for formative assessment. Some Naiku classes use iPads, some use laptops, some make the trek to the computer lab, and others are discovering the magic of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device.) The common denominator of all Naiku teachers is their passion for engaging students. Working with diverse and passionate teachers is fun.

 


3. Teacher Spotlight

This is a special guest article from one of our Naiku Star teachers. Len Beard is mathematics teacher at Scott Highlands Middle School in Apple Valley, Minnesota.

NAIKU- The Missing Piece of the Puzzle
Len Beard
Len Beard's Students taking Test on Naiku
I've been 'flipping' my classroom for nearly a decade. I pre-test and post-test each chapter and use the pretests as a formative assessment to guide my instruction. The data tells me the strengths and weakness of each of my students. This allows me to give students more individual attention. To make this curriculum approach really effective students should be able to view content and take assessments on their own wireless devices, either in school or at home.

In the past, gathering and sorting the data involved using a combination of spreadsheets and databases to compile and report the information - VERY time-consuming and difficult to teach to new teachers. Using the software that came with our curriculum to analyze our formative assessment results restricted us to a computer lab - an unacceptable option. We heard about Naiku from our district office and less than 2 weeks after contacting Naiku, we were siting with Corey Thompson, Naiku CEO, writing our own tests. Class lists and individual student information with user names and passwords had already been created for us. We have used Naiku ever since. Students really like being able to use their own devices to take math tests.

I was especially thankful that we could simply import the tests we had already written with the previous software. The Naiku platform is user-friendly for both students and teachers. Students get immediate feedback and the opportunity to analyze, reflect, and write about their mistakes. And, parents have complete access to their child’s tests -- another wonderful feature. Teachers see class and individual results as soon as students complete the test. Results are reported by student, class, or standard. The collaborative design of Naiku allows us to share our assessments with other teachers in our school or district. The only thing better than the software is the support you get from the Naiku team. Naiku supplies the missing piece to make flipping a classroom really work for everyone.


4. The Naiku Blog

New Blog Posts

  • The Teenage Mind and Naiku. In the October, 2011 issue of National Geographic, David Dobbs explains what’s happening in the brains of 12 – 25 year-olds. His observations are based on a National Institutes of Health (NIH) project that studied over a hundred young people as they grew up during the 1990s.
  • Naiku Participates in Edmodo Launch of App Store. Edmodo, a social learning platform for teachers, announced the launch of its app store. The opening of its API to third-party web developers enables the creation of educational apps on the social platform.
  • Why do we still have computer labs? Lately I have  been wondering why the “computer lab” is still so prevalent, and I wonder how long these groups of computers (in what could be used as classroom space) are going to last.  Is it the beginning of the end for the computer lab?
  • Two Stages of Metacognition: Prediction and Reflection. In Naiku, metacognition is a big deal! I often wonder how  metacognition came to play such an important role in the Naiku Assessment Platform.  
  • Why Simply "Saving Teacher Time" is not Enough. When a software company is trying to sell their product to a corporate manager, the salesperson will often say that the product will “save employee time.” The manager’s response is usually “Sure, but will my employees actually get more done because of your product?”  
  • Older Posts. If you haven't read our blog yet, you can check out our older posts here. 

5. We want to hear from you

We love hearing from you. As always, we welcome your feedback. Continue to send us feedback and feature requests. Send feedback to info@naiku.net. If you need help with anything, send requests to support@naiku.net.
Copyright © 2012 Naiku, Inc., All rights reserved.