Confer: Making Conferring with Students Meaningful
Type of technology: iPAD App
SAMR Model Rating: Modification/Augmentation
Grade level: All
Subject area: All
I have learned over the years the importance of conferencing or ‘conferring’ with students individually. Being able to sit down, one-on-one with a student has proved to be effective in many ways. However, how do we have the time and management tools to do so with so many students? Recently, a friend told me of an app to help with this process called: Confer.
A teacher in Seattle, Washington created this app to help teachers differentiate instruction in a productive manner.
What is Confer?
“Confer is an app that makes it quick and easy to take notes on your students. Once you’ve taken notes, you can use Confer to instantly translate those notes into small group insights.
In other words, the notes you take will actually inform the lessons and small groups you teach. Every day.” – Quoted directly from conferapp.com
How do you get started?
You first need to download the app, and create a title for the subject(s) you are going to monitor and note-take with. For me, I decided to start by adding a ‘Writer’s Workshop’ subject because we are meeting on a daily/weekly basis with each student. This gave me an opportunity to track how my students are doing, what they are working on, and what they still need help on.
Next Step: Adding Students
All you have to do is select the subject you have created, and then tap the pencil to add or edit students. You only have to type your class list once because you can export to another subject if you decide to create more than one subject for your use.
The flags by each students’ name enable you to change colors to: red, green, or yellow. This has helped me sort my students into categories of who is struggling, who needs some guidance, and students that are excelling.
Note-Taking on a Student
Below is a picture (I blocked out the name of my student), of how you can take notes on a student. There are few things you can do. You can add a date when you have met with this student, so you can track their progress. You can also add personal notes, add a teaching point, their strengths and next steps. The convenient part is that once you add a teaching point, or a strength, or a next step it automatically becomes a part of a drop down menu for other students. It makes it really easy to just click a few things when meeting with students. It has helped me meet with more on a daily basis.
(the student’s name will appear up top by the flag when you click on a particular student)
Syncing and Sharing
Below is how you are able to sync and share what you have stored on this app! This will become super helpful during parent-teacher conferences.
This is how you are able to put students into different categories of: needs, notes, date, level, flag or small group!
Check out conferapp.com (for the background behind the app)
Also, this link has training videos to help you get started: http://aswestech.weebly.com/confer-training.html
I am looking forward to using this app in more than just Writer’s Workshop to help track the needs of my learners.