Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Sync & Import Are Here (on an iOS Device Near You)!

Announcing our biggest, most significant update to Stick Pick since its initial launch. We’re committed to making Stick Pick the go-to teacher tool for building equity, differentiating instruction, promoting critical thinking, improving classroom management, collecting formative assessment data, and supporting the Common Core (CCSS).

Here’s what’s new:
• Sync. Now, teachers can keep their data synchronized across all their iOS devices, via Dropbox.
• Import class rosters from Dropbox. Create a CSV file in your favorite spreadsheet application, upload it to Dropbox, and import it right from within Stick Pick.
• View scores for an entire class, all from one screen.
• Share whole-class scores in a variety of popular file formats, such as Excel, PDF, or CSV via AirDrop, Message, Mail, Print, and more…
• Set Class Default for any class. (For example, now you can start with everyone at the same level of difficulty).
• Disable Class Default. Differentiate for individual learners by moving them higher or lower as needed without changing the rest of the class.
• Reorder the list of classes from the Classes screen.
• Swipe to delete a class right from the Classes screen.
• Swipe to delete a student directly from the Roster screen.
• Attach a Student ID to each student.
• Using just one, two, or all three identifiers is now permitted when adding students to a class (i.e. First Name; and/or Last Name; and/or Student ID).
• New Hidden Toolbar lets users search for students across all classes or within a particular class; also provides a shortcut to the new App Settings screen. (Swipe down from Classes, Sticks, and Roster screens to reveal hidden toolbar).
• New “Scores" Button in the lower tab bar menu lets users view a whole class of students' scores all at once.
• Improved overall appearance of buttons to align more with iOS 8.
• Fixed bug that wouldn’t respond to “Shake to Pick”
• Added a new "Sync on WiFi Only” toggle switch that gives users the choice to limit synchronization only when connected via WiFi
• Various cosmetic enhancements, including the overall look of most buttons to align more with iOS8.
• Various bug fixes

Monday, February 3, 2014

When Students Ask The Questions

Want to increase the depth of understanding and levels of questioning going on in your classroom? There's an app for that.

Sometimes, we teachers need a little help coming up with the right question for the right learner at the right time, which is where an app like Stick Pick can come in real handy.

But did you know that students can benefit greatly if they're the ones asking each other questions, too? Here's an easy way to encourage students to ask one another better questions:

First, download Stick Pick to all student devices. Stick Pick gives students the tools to pose thoughtful questions, assess, and even rate their classmates' responses, all on their iOS or Android mobile devices.

If you haven't done so already, create cooperative learning groups in your class. Groups of three to five members works best. Next, have students launch Stick Pick and create their own "class" on their devices and then input the first and last name of each member of their small group. Then, it's time to set each learner's mode and level. This step determines the kinds of question stems that will appear when a learner's stick is drawn. Students can set each learner's mode and level to any degree of difficulty they choose, or, you may prefer to have them set all learners to a specific level. For example, perhaps you want your students to practice asking and answering questions at the "Bloom's: Synthesis" level. Simply direct your students to set each learner's default mode and level to "Bloom's: Synthesis."

You're all set. So the next time you ask your small groups to discuss the latest chapter, article, or poem you've assigned, they'll be asking better questions which will lead to better answers and deeper discussions. And when peers start assessing and rating each other's answers, you'll really start to see an increase in student engagement as well.

How are you using Stick Pick in your classroom?

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Additional Features in Development

Thank you so much for your patience and positive reviews in the app store! I'm happy to report that the iOS 7 update that crippled the "Settings" button on iPads has been resolved. But instead of merely fixing that glitch, I decided to give the entire app an iOS 7 "facelift." I hope you will agree that Stick Pick is now more in line with Apple's new iOS 7 look and feel.

I'm currently working on a "sync" feature that will allow data to be synchronized across all iOS devices. The sync feature will allow teachers who own more than one iOS device to use their devices interchangeably. For example, a teacher may use his or her iPad in class and then access a student's data from their iPhone while in a conference or at home. Also in the works is an "import roster" feature as well as an "export data" feature. Look for these features and more in the coming months.