Best Student Login Experience #colab

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‘What was the best login experience for your students?’

First off, the login experience sucked.

It always took more than one class day (~54min) to get the students on-boarded and in-game. Some students didn’t have email addresses, some lost their password every day, and others needed guided instructions and missed the step-by-step walkthrough.

Even after successfully logging in there were issues: students logged in as other players and sabotaged their characters, or played on another student’s (who forgot to sign out) account without realizing they weren’t playing their own character.

I mentioned ‘login with facebook’ as the best experience since users didn’t need to remember their login information and would even get excited at the prospect of creating an account. However, I never used a facebook login game with my whole class, only with particular students who found a suitable game to play during our personalized computer time on Fridays. I actually had more whole class experience with the “login with google” option since that is what Khanacademy used at the time (Clever and Edmodo weren’t around). It was nice once the students were set up because we had a laptop cart and each student used a device that was assigned to them. However, there were students who took weeks to create an account. Oftentimes they needed to create an email account first. The school/district firewalls would prohibit students from accessing email clients, so we would have to share the smartphones in the class to get students making email accounts (~5 including mine). So actually, the “login with…” option created additional barriers that made it so that a few of my students had a grueling experience getting their login information. It was very quick for students who were already set up with facebook/google, so I can imagine Clever or Edmodo being options? As mentioned, smartphones were not very prevalent in my classes.

The easiest access tool was PollEverywhere, the student response system, because it required no login, and students voted by text message. Most students had mobile devices, yet few had smartphones/data plans. This was even easier than free to access tools like Geogebra! Geogebra required a plugin download back then — which meant that I had to find ways to get the network security to allow downloads from that URL, I also had to allow the flash plugin to run from multiple URLs to have students get that web-based software working properly, and there were some “click this, and this, and this” instructions that students had to be taught after a savvy kid figured out how to get it working.

For some of the tools we used, we had to get the IT department who had admin access to make some of the changes since I did not have admin permissions on our computers. Personally, I really like the idea that students can play immediately and login later (Mathbreakers is talking about this model, and Codemonkey has immediate weblaunch of the game), I didn’t use any games with this model when I was teaching, but I think it would work well. In fact, I think the best experience I had onboarding students was with Sumdog. I was able to import all of my students when I had my class roster and generate their logins beforehand. Even the passwords were generated for them. I was able to easily add/remove students as they were added/removed to my class (although if this was done automatically it clearly would be better). However, I could quickly check student login information if they forgot it (in fact, I printed the list and kept it in my clipboard so I could assist students quickly while circulating the class). I believe the Desmos calculator requires no plugins/login, and that is awesome… another tool I didn’t know about until I left the classroom.

Again, none of the login experiences were ideal, but I hope this answers the question better than my haphazard response during the meeting.

Thanks for reading,

Evan

(email from 10/16/14 with the co.lab team, I taught 2005–2013)

Embrace Mistakes | Live to Learn | Love to Teach

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