In short, Knomadix is looking to help democratize content publishing so that any teacher or school can easily turn what they already have into digital content that can be used on any internet-enabled device. Let’s take a look!
As you can see, from a teacher/student perspective, Knomadix is meant to give teachers the ability to send out digital content, view students’ processes for completing that work, and give feedback and grades once students turn in the work.
If you are planning on creating digital content through the Knomadix Content Studio, this is better done at the district level, by someone in curriculum development position. If you’re going that route, I would definitely recommend starting out with some training, as that component of Knomadix is not something you can easily pick up if it’s your first time in the Studio.
That being said, if you are going to be creating content, you can do so in a variety of formats, including:
- Smart Label - which can be matching, fill-in-the-blank, or a gamified version of this
- Smart Paper - which can used to capture student handwriting and provide instant replay capabilities for teachers
- SmartVideo - which can be used to add interactive content into an already existing video (somewhat similar to services like Zaption or EduCanon).
On the teacher side, when you first log in to Knomadix, you’ll be presented with the Teacher Dashboard. From here, you can see your classes, students, the various content that’s been sent out to you from the Content Studio (which was most likely created for you by the curriculum developer for your district).
When you first sign up for Knomadix account, your classes and student rosters will be set up for you at the district level so as a teacher, you don’t have to worry about this process.
Next, let’s talk a little about the different lesson types. As I mentioned, these will most likely be designed at the district level, but I think it’s helpful to see how this process works, in case you want to modify anything for your particular classroom.
Let’s start by talking about the SmartPaper lesson type. Using this lesson you can upload an image or a scanned worksheet to quickly turn it into a digital version.
Start by adding in a picture or a background image, then you can add in your answer boxes to select if you’ll be asking a Free Form, Exact Match, or Ranged question. After that, you can type in how many points the question will be worth, and add in a hint if you want to.
Once you’ve created your digital worksheet, you can send that out to your students, and they’ll be able to fill in the answers on whatever device they’re using. In addition to providing students with instant feedback and automatic grading, the instant replay capability captures every step of the student’s work for teacher review.
As for the SmartVideo side of things, here teachers can import a pre-existing video from the internet or from their computer and add in interactive content to the video. For example, if you wanted the video to pause at a certain point and prompt the student for an answer on something they had just seen, you could do that here by adding in one of your Smart Label or Smart Paper lessons. All you have to do is hit the + button to add in a marker and embed your interactive content.
Then, just like with the SmartPaper, you can send that interactive video out to the students’ “Backpack” so they can complete the assignment and send it back for your feedback.
The Teacher “Classroom”
The teacher “Classroom” section of the Knomadix app is essentially home base for teachers. From the dashboard, you’ll start with a list of all your different classes. You can select a class to send out any content that has been created in the aforementioned content development side of the app. You can also choose to send out content to specific groups of students, or individual students if you have differentiated versions of the same assignment.
Once you select the lesson you’d like to work with, you’ll be able to send it out to your students, so they can access it through their “Backpack.”
And, when a student completes their assignment, you’ll be able to grade it and provide feedback here as well. Just click on the assignment again, and you can start grading.
Plus, if the assignment was one of the SmartPaper assignments, you’ll actually be able to watch a recording of the student’s process as they completed the assignment. This can be incredibly helpful if you want to see how a student progressed through the activity.
Finally, for any lesson where the content creator has defined specific answers (i.e. true/false, multiple choice, etc.), those questions will be automatically graded for you.
The Student “Backpack”
On the student side of the app, they’ll have access to what the Knomadix team calls the “Backpack.” From here, students can see all of their current assignments as well as feedback on anything that has been submitted and graded. In general, they layout here is very similar to the Classroom layout described above. Students will be able to select a particular class and then see the different lessons they have available to them.
Once a student picks an assignment to work on, they’ll be able to add in their answers, or watch the assigned video, and then submit the assignment back to the teacher for feedback. If they don’t get the whole assignment finished in one go, they can also save their partially completed work to finish at another time.
Areas for Improvement
Overall, I think Knomadix is onto something great here. I think their goal of helping schools and teachers digitize their already existing content is ambitious, but I also think they’ve definitely got the ability to achieve this. That being said, there are a few suggestions I would have for improvement, and some things I think teachers should be aware of when working with the software.
First of all, Knomadix is pretty immense. It’s got a lot of moving parts and it’s meant to cover a lot of territory. Assignment creation (in a variety of formats), assignment delivery, student work, feedback, grading, analytics, and that’s just on the teacher/student side of things. And with that in mind, the software isn’t always as intuitive as I think it could be, especially for K-12 teachers and administrators who usually don’t have the time (or desire) to sit and learn an entirely new interface.
Just from my own experience in training K-12 teachers on how to use new technology, I know a system like this would definitely take a whole lot of time (and teacher buy-in), so making the interface as intuitive as possible is definitely a necessity. The team is planning on rolling out a tutorial wizard within the app to offer assistance, but for now that feature doesn’t exist.
I think it is also important to note that at this point in the review process, the Knomadix team and I reached a substantial disagreement about their product. The Knomadix team reports that they have had very successful roll-outs of their app in large districts, and that they have classroom teachers using the Content Studio to design, edit, and manage their own content, based on a 2-3 hours of PD training.
Based on my professional experience (and on 9 years of teaching and helping to train teachers to use technology), I don’t believe this would be the case for a majority of teachers. I think using this app would require a great deal of follow-up support, just-in-time support, in-class coaching, and significantly improved support documentation.
I should also point out that I was only able to review the Backpack and Classroom apps using the web versions in its pre-release state, and not the Android and iOS versions. That being said, I still stand by my comments above about the state of the Content Studio, as it stands apart from the Backpack and Classroom sections of the app.
In short, as it stands, I cannot in good conscience say that I believe this application is ready for classroom use. If you are planning on purchasing Knomadix for your school or district, and you have any questions that you feel I might be able to help with, please don't hesitate to email me.
But, with my opinion out of the way, I do still think Knomadix fills a need that a lot of school districts are looking for, which is a way to help digitize their already existing content. While I don’t think it’s a perfect system, it does have a lot of features that teachers and schools can use. And, I do think once they’ve had time to revise the interface and implement the feedback they get from the teachers and schools currently using the service, they’re going to have a useful application.
The opinions expressed in this review are my own.
I was not compensated for writing this review.