This week we had an excellent presentation on assessment technologies led by Matt, Trevor and Dalton. Before the presentation, the group asked the class to download Knowledgehook, a program to ‘empower math teachers’ with ‘engaging assessments and activities for students, actionable insights and expert guidance for teachers’. I recently received a premium account to use with my Grade 3 students in our online classroom, so I am excited to share my experience with Knowledgehook so far. I will discuss:
- Setting up Knowledgehook to use with students,
- Student response to the program (so far – after one week of use),
- How I plan to use Knowledgehook for both formative and summative assessment, and
- The initial pros and cons of Knowledgehook after one week of use.
Setting up Knowledgehook
Fortunately, my division sent out very clear instructions with a step-by-step guide and videos to create my Knowledgehook account. One video that was particularly helpful was how to use Knowledgehook in a remote learning environment. The video explained a lot of the lingo used in Knowledgehook like the “Kick-Of Mission”, which is a diagnostic tool to get an overview of student understanding of prior-grade concepts.
Adding students – When you have created your class (making sure to activate the premium code if you have one from your division), the next step is to add students. I chose to create accounts for my students based on instructions from my division. Next, you can either manually enter student names or copy and paste a list of student names (first names only and one name per line) to create the account. There is an option to “generate passwords”, which I chose so that I could have access to student login information if they forget their passwords (which seems to be a daily occurrence!) One caveat – if you create your class but do not select “generate passwords” and change your mind afterwards, you have to go back to the beginning and delete all students and re-add their names with the password box selected. My colleagues learned this the hard way!
Sharing login information – After you have created your class, you can select ‘download login info’ which will create a PDF for each student and separate login cards. Here is an example that I sent to students and their families which shows both the student login and how parents can connect to the app. Finally, as students login to the app, it will also notify the teacher if a parent is linked to the app.
Assign the Kick-Off Mission – The last step (which is prompted by the app) is to assign the Kick-Off Mission to all students. You can choose the date the mission is due and either select the entire class or specific students.
Done! I went through all these steps and then also assigned a few more missions that related to the topics we were currently covering math. I decided to give students a week to figure out how to login and explore the app. I initially thought I would use Knowledgehook for enrichment and extra practice until I learned more about the app during our presentation this week.
Student response to Knowledgehook (after one week)
In brief conversations with students about Knowledgehook I heard comments like,
- “Okay, but what are we supposed to do? Just play the games?”
- “Is this like Mathletics?”
- “This is hard! But I like the missions”
This made me realize I have to do a little more learning about the program before I really start using it with students, so I consider this first week our soft launch. Knowledgehook has lots of prompts that appear when using the website, and one was “potential student gaps are tracked here”.
Knowledgehook creates reports based on areas of difficulty for each student and then provides teacher resources to support these trouble areas. This is where I think Knowledge really begins to stand out. For any topic, teachers are provided with background information, common misconceptions that students make and then remediation questions to support growth. If you are teaching an unfamiliar grade level in math, these are excellent resources to support your teaching.
Finally, another feature that I like is that parents can be connected to their student and be notified about milestones reached. Parents and teachers can cheer on the student!
How I plan to use Knowledgehook for assessment
Although I am still in my initial phases of incorporating Knowledgehook with my students, I can imagine using the tool for mostly formative assessment and as another way to check student understanding. I initially planned to use the app as simply extra practice, but I think the reports and insights will be very valuable to guide my teaching and student learning. We currently use Seesaw for most of our formative assessment, but I think this program would be a valuable tool to engage our students and track progress. Another feature is printing progress reports that will detail all the skills achieved by each student which can also help guide our assessment.
Teachers can also, “Capture Student Thinking”, so students can upload a photo of their work to individual student portfolios. This allows teachers to get detailed examples of student thinking.
There are a few ways that I think you could use Knowledgehook for summative assessments. First, you have the option of “assigning missions” (self-paced) or “play gameshow” (live group activity).
Missions can be assigned in “assessment mode”, so students only get one attempt per question, compared to two attempts in normal missions. You can also assign “Warm-ups” and “Exit tickets” for simple pre and post-assessment data.
The missions are useful for formative assessment and practice, but the Gameshow could be used more like a test or summative assessment in a live classroom environment. The gameshow could also be used during video meetings with students to simulate the classroom environment. The Gameshow option is very similar to other apps like Quizziz and Kahoot.
Pros and Cons of Knowledgehook
With my initial experience with Knowledgehook, the teacher resources and assessment capabilities are very positive, especially for an online learning environment. One of our biggest struggles in an online environment is effective assessment that accurately represents student learning and thinking. I think using a variety of strategies, including apps like Knowledgehook, will give teachers more options to assess standards and outcomes.
Like many online apps for students, there are some negatives to Knowledgehook. In my opinion, the game-like platform may not appeal to all students. In particular, I am finding that my additional language learners are struggling with understanding the instructions. But, many students at this grade level are very interested in games like Roblox and Minecraft, so the game-like vibe is exciting and interesting.
I am very excited to start using Knowledgehook with my students as a specific and purposeful assessment tool. The teacher resources are very comprehensive and helpful, the insights are valuable for planning and support and the parent connection will help keep students and families engaged in their learning. Overall, I think Knowledgehook is a hidden gem in the math instructional guidance world! I would love to hear how other teachers use this app in their classrooms, both physical and online.
Until next time,
**All images were taken as screenshots from Knowledgehook.com