We had the pleasure to speak with Mr. Glen Kitayama, 4th grade teacher at Castelar Elementary School. He started using Classting early this year and has been actively using it since!
How did you hear about Classting?
I heard about it at a conference for Korean educators. I became pretty interested in it because I was already using Classdojo. I was truthfully rather skeptical about using Classting because I wasn’t sure how it could be used in the classroom. But the presenter gave a demonstration and I soon realized it was a different type of thing than Classdojo. With Classdojo, I use it primarily use it for parent communication and also to monitor student behavior. Generally, the way Classdojo works is that it’s a one way communication primarily between me and the parents. What I noticed with Classting though, is that it is more like Facebook for the classroom. So I became interested in using it because I saw there was potential for it to be used with my students.
Were there any obstacles you had to overcome when you began using Classting?
One of the main obstacles I encountered was how trying to figure out how to get parents involved. We’re a title 1 school, so most of our parents are low income here and therefore don’t have their own computers, however, that was overcome in a lot of ways because I discovered that most parents have smartphones, so they could use the Classting app. Or if they didn’t have a smartphone, a lot of them have a tablet. Not necessarily iPads but android tablets or another device they could use. So, that was one of the things that was hard, access. Actually, I’m still trying to get more parents involved in it. As we’ve been going along in the classroom, some parents are realizing that they are missing some information, so slowly but surely, they are starting to sign up, but it is still a long process.
How would you compare your class connection, between this year with other years of teaching?
Well, I think it helps to build a classroom community. That’s one of the main things that I always tried to establish in the classroom. I think Classting has helped quite a bit because now the students are able to communicate with each other on a very fun basis, outside of school, in ways that they wouldn’t have been able to do so before. That’s one of the real main benefits.
What have your students learned about social media etiquette while using Classting?
Well actually, that is one of the primary lessons that I taught before, during, and even still that I’m teaching them about social media etiquette. I think it’s really good for 4th graders, in particular, to be able to learn this. Later on in life, if they don’t understand this, they could be really hurt with what could potentially happen when you post something hurtful or inappropriate. The good thing about Classting is that because it’s so secure, I, as the teacher, can actually remove students and threaten to, or teach them a lesson, by saying “you won’t be able to get on, if you post something inappropriate”. Thankfully, this came as a surprise to me, but all of my students, every single one of them, understood the message. That if you’re going to post something, you have to post something knowing that I will be looking at it, knowing their parents will be looking at it, therefore I’ve had no problem whatsoever about safety or people posting inappropriate things. It’s been a good lesson for the kids.
Any interesting ways that you’ve integrated Classting in your classroom?
One of the great benefits of Classting is that I’ve been able to use it for projects. So when kids are researching something, and they don’t have their own computer at home or their own tablet, at least they can look up something in school and post the information on their own page and look it up later on and use that information for their projects.
What would you tell teachers who are considering using Classting?
I liked how you phrased it when you came into the class and introduced Classting, it’s not in direct competition to Classdojo. In fact, many people, including me, us both of them and so they compliment each other. If you want something to use for projects, where kids can interact with each other, then Classting is a really great tool for the classroom.
Thank you so much for your time and for using Classting, Mr. K!
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