Technology in the Classroom – Kami

Kami - Magnificent Moose

I recently had the opportunity to test Kami with my son. Kami is a web based tool that can be used both online and offline. This digital classroom Kami allowed him to edit PDFs, use speech to text/text to speech, access a digital whiteboard and more. My son is a middle school student – and has terrible handwriting. He often comes home with papers and we can’t read them. Enter, Kami, now we scan them either using my phone or flatbed scanner – run OCR with Kami and he’s ready to annotate in moments.

Our main image is a google doc I started with my son, moved to Powerpoint, and then finally realized I could have accomplished in much less time with Kami. It’s the cover for a report about Moose. In this report, he inserted images, did speech to text, and even did citations!

One of my favorite tools is the Split and Merge tool which allows you to customize and combine PDFs (meaning we could take a stack of worksheets — have my son work on them digitally) and then split them up to the assignments to turn them in! He often uses Google Docs for assignments – and when he found an image he wanted to use – sometimes he struggles to insert it. Using the Split and Merge we pulled in the Google Docs and were able to insert the images prior to finalizing the document as a PDF. Easy!

cloud based learning

I also liked that instead of printing everything – I was able to create a PDF, annotate, and then use that instead of printing out a stack of papers that might later be thrown out – plus I like that it has fewer environmental implications which makes it a win/win! In addition, it was easy to use and includes integrations with Google Classroom,

For educators, Kami offers a free online certification that teaches you ways to use Kami that you might not have thought of. It’s an easy-to-use versatile piece of software that for him has made doing schoolwork and everyday work easier. Teachers can use Kami to help with IEP goals especially around notes or providing electronic copies of documents instead of paper handouts.

Remote Learning and the Need for Nature

Remote Learning and Nature

Remote learning in our family has re-defined screen time for us. Previously we had fairly stringent controls using Circle, but we have had to loosen those up to allow for remote schooling. I made a profile for my boys – one for school and one for at home, that way we can have stronger controls on our home devices versus those that are needed for school.

We try to limit screentime at home to one or two hours a day based on the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations. On the weekends, we try to go outside and enjoy nature by going for a hike, doing land art or finding shells at a nearby beach. My younger son especially loves to go outside and run. It’s a great break from the screens and an opportunity to get outside and play! Playtime outside is such an important time which allows kids to use their imagination, enjoy different animals and experiences that they might not otherwise have at home.

Recently, my son did land art at school and decided to pick up shells at school and make a sculpture of land art on the beach. It was fun to watch him make it – and to get outside.

That said – limiting screentime during remote learning is tough! Blue light blocker glasses work well for kids as well as the ability to adjust the brightness and color shift the screen. We also remind our kids to be good digital citizens. We also screen programming to make sure it is age appropriate, remind them of good digital behavior and encourage use of screens in family spaces like the living room. NetSmartz is a great resource for kids and parents, as is this Boys Life article about cyber safety.

My husband and I know that screens are here to stay, and we can find different ways to encourage off time from the screens when not doing schooling.