Web Team Releases Classroom Application
If you have noticed the well-designed, humorous and yet informative posters all around the school entitled “Tough Week?” (created by our very own senior Carson Kahn), you may have realized that the talented Fairview Web Team has created a new tool to help students study, learn, and interact with their peers and teachers.
The “Classroom” app is designed to be “a set of tools for students to interact both with each other and with their teachers through the Fairview website and collaboratively build interactive learning tools,” as senior Web Team member Ryan Atallah says. There are four main tools on the “Classroom” that can help students in different ways.
Firstly, the “Discussions” feature is designed to function like a chat room or any other type of online forum. However, it is unique because the discussions are integrated directly into the class pages. Any student or teacher can start a discussion pertaining to a particular class and then other students can get involved by writing their opinions on the subject matter. In this way, “Classroom” also functions much like a social networking site that is focused on a student’s academic life as opposed to their personal life.
The “Questions” tool functions like any question-and-answer forum (Yahoo answers, for example). A student can ask a question specific to one of their classes and get answers from a peer also in their class, the teacher of the class, or even a student who took the class previously. People can then give an answer upvotes if they believe that answer is the best, and the student who originally asked the question can resolve their question when they feel it has been answered.
There are two main benefits to this feature, one being of course that you can get a quick answer to a question you have in one of your classes. This feature, however, will also function as a database after students have been using it for a long time and have stockpiled questions and their answers. At that point, students will have a searchable database that is specific to Fairview classes.
The next feature is the “Flashcards” tool, which allows students to create virtual flashcard decks for themselves and other students to study with. Atallah says that he believes “the flash cards will be the most popular because they are a study tool that is easily shared.” Instead of individual students having to create their own flash card decks and lug them around in their backpacks, an entire class can collaborate to create one deck and then use it to study. For a fun bonus, Atallah created an animation that causes the flash cards to flip as though they were actual, physical cards.
The final installment in the “Classroom” set is the “Quizzes” tool, which will be mostly used by teachers but is accessible also to students who aspire to create their own quizzes. There are options for both multiple choice and fill-in-the-blank questions, and the teachers can view statistics about the grades their students are getting on these practice quizzes, and also which questions are the most-missed and the least-missed. The expectation is that this will help teachers to streamline their lesson plans based on what their students know and do not know.
The release of “Classroom” could not have been better timed, with AP and IB tests and finals coming just around the corner. Once a teacher enables “Classroom” for their class, students have the ability to create a question, quiz, flashcard deck, or discussion as soon as they want. As long as a student is signed in to the website and subscribed to their classes, they have unlimited access to these virtual study tools.
Although Atallah was the leading Web Team member on this particular project and spent upwards of 80 hours on it, the rest of the Fairview Web Team has been contributing a lot of time and effort to get “Classroom” made. The Web Team, consisting of about twelve members, is headed up by senior members Ryan Atallah, Carson Kahn and Ved Topkar. Next year the legacy will be passed down to Logan Garbarini, J.D. Padrnos and Aaron Perley, who are proving themselves this year to be innovative and extremely intelligent.
As for the Web Team’s new ventures, Atallah says they have plans to “take the entire Fairview website application that we [the Web Team] wrote and productize it as an information service that we can then distribute and sell to other districts, community colleges, maybe even some smaller universities if they’re interested.” “Classroom” is unique to Fairview because most school websites are formed merely to organize information, and not to help students learn and interact with other students and teachers.
Atallah sums it up by saying, “It’s a social network, it’s a set of learning tools, and it’s a source of information flow for a classroom,” which just shows how multi-faceted and useful this new feature really is.