Kami Connect 2020: Meaningful Takeaways

A Quick Introduction to KAMI

Kami is a digital web tool which allows for teachers and students to interact with one another, thus making online learning more seamless and effective.

With KAMI, users can perform plenty of live, interactive functions such as:

  • Type, highlight, comment or annotate on any document
  • Draw shapes, lines or freehand
  • Online class whiteboard
  • Insert media, video and audio comments*
  • Text-to-speech*
  • Dictionary*

*Note that these features are only available on the Teacher Plan subscription.

With these functions, teachers and students are able to interact in their preferred medium, hence catering to each person’s individual learning style (e.g. drawing as opposed to typing). Any changes made are automatically saved every thirty seconds, while a copy of the annotated document can be downloaded or printed for safekeeping.

KAMI can be integrated with several learning management systems such as Google Classroom, Canvas and Schoology. Furthermore, documents can be opened on KAMI directly from Google Drive or saved into it! This makes it highly convenient as teachers or students can access the files easily from one destination, without the additional worry about their work not being captured or scrambling to locate their documents.

Aside from the above functions, KAMI can also be used to split and merge PDF documents. This means that teachers can create assignments or worksheets with much less hassle and time.

KAMI is available for download from the Chrome Web Store and is readily accessed as a Google Chrome extension on the Chrome browser. Below are the links you will need to familiarize yourself with Kami!

Download KAMI on Chrome Web Store
KAMI Home Page
KAMI Video Tutorials on Youtube
KAMI Help Center

KAMI CONNECT 2020: Meaningful Takeaways

During the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, schools and institutions worldwide went online to ensure learning does not cease amidst lockdowns or safety restrictions. Numerous online communities, tech advocates and professionals were buzzing with talk on innovative ways to make the best out of the situation.

In line with this, KAMI organised the KAMI CONNECT in July last year – a free online conference to share and bounce off ideas on remote learning strategies. Streamed live on Youtube, fellow educators and experts of educational technology presented on not just how KAMI could help in remote learning, but also the substantial ways teachers can transform their attitudes and approaches to ensure the best outcomes for their students.

  1. Replacing ‘But…’ with ‘And…’

Keynote speaker Jake Miller, a tech integration specialist, takes a refreshing leaf out of author Bernard Roth’s book (literally!). In his book ‘The Achievement Habit: Stop Wishing, Start Doing, and Take Command of Your Life’, Roth asserts that using the word ‘and…’ instead of ‘but…’ when approaching problems allows our brains to “consider how it can deal with both parts” of the situation. This opens up possibilities for achieving both outcomes rather than limiting us to one side of the equation. Take for example a typical scenario a teacher might face when using videos in their remote lessons:

“I want to use videos, BUT…students don’t watch them.” 

= Dialogue is cut off by the limiting factor and restricts the solution-seeking process. We start thinking that we will resign to the fact that not all students will watch them, or even stop using videos altogether since students don’t watch them.


“I want to use videos, AND…students don’t watch them.” 

= Dialogue opens up the possibilities of seeking for a solution which can help achieve BOTH outcomes. In this scenario, a solution could be using tools such as EdPuzzle**, which allows teachers to embed questions or activities into a particular video. The teacher is not only informed about who has indeed watched the entire video, they are also able to evaluate their students’ level of understanding based on their answers and work from there.

**Learn more about EdPuzzle here

This ‘and…’ mindset according to Miller, makes us educators more flexible in our approach towards remote learning and empowers us to be able to take action on the only thing we can control in this pandemic – our response. Undoubtedly, we have no control over schools having to close physical classes and at the same time we would like to continue teaching remotely without compromising on the quality of our students’ learning. What we can control here is how we respond to this, which is to seek for and try out the best possible tools or strategies that can aid us during such times.

  1. Feedforward, Not Feedback

Miller also prefers using the term ‘feedforward’ as he believes that feedback or evaluations should not just go back to the student passively during remote learning. Rather, the given information should enable students to reflect and work on the areas of strengths or improvements so that they can subsequently move forward to make progress.

Dodie Anslie, also a tech integration specialist, illustrates the various ways in which technology helps teachers provide ‘feedforward’ effectively. With KAMI for instance, the audio/video comment feature allows students to receive comments more meaningfully as they are able to hear or watch their teachers’ tones and body language. The same can be done between students where they evaluate each others’ work, thus enabling peer learning and collaboration to take place. Furthermore, teachers can scaffold and gradually release the learning process using the online whiteboard feature. They can demonstrate first with the whiteboard before assigning students with tasks that they can collaborate on together or work on individually (“I do, We do, You do”).

In fact, such means of assigning or evaluating work does not necessarily need to be within the boundaries of remote learning. Even in normal circumstances, it is almost impossible for teachers to meet with every single student to check on their progress for all assignments or assessments. Teachers can hence continue using tech tools which allow for multimodal input/feedback and ease of access at any time outside of the lesson, even as physical classes resume.

III. Creating Remote Learning Strategies that Work

Last but not least, Tom Gavin, a Supervisor of Instructional Technologies and Libraries in the Colonial School District of Delaware, reflects on their journey of going remote and the lessons learned from doing so. Their overall plan was structured and holistic, focusing on four main phases to ensure the successful implementation of remote learning.

The first phase began with the district identifying the top five remote learning tools they would be adopting (Schoology, Google Drive, Zoom, Kami and Screencastify), although teachers are still given the flexibility to use other tools as well. This is followed by the creation of an online central hub for teachers which serves to provide professional development, clear lines of communication and support remotely.

What is interesting is that the district did the above to lead by example and model to their teachers how to effectively set up, facilitate and manage remote learning platforms. As a result, teachers are empowered to follow similar structures, processes or guidelines when conducting remote learning with their own students. Additionally, there is  consistency in the level of standards and expectations, as well as the assurance that the higher management empathizes with the demands of remote learning for teachers (as opposed to giving detached from the ground, top-down instructions).

The next two phases of the district’s remote learning plan involved the deployment of Chromebooks to students for their online learning and collaboration with curriculum content staff to create materials compatible with their top five adopted tools.

Gavin shares that they have learned the sheer importance of effective collaboration between staff themselves (teachers, curriculum team, IT department, management etc) as well as the importance of providing helpful communication and support systems for staff, students and families. Learning resources can be streamlined by staying focused on developing them using the adopted tools. Whilst we are on the topic of tools – ‘less is more’ to avoid overwhelming parents and students.

Most of all, Gavin affirms that we are all in this together and that it is alright to go slow as long as we remain intentional and proactive in our practices. Teachers must expect that all sorts of challenges can and will occur, but it is okay to not have all the answers. He encourages all of us to reach out to our social networks and fellow educators, leveraging on our strengths as passionate educators who are keen to share and learn from each other.

Hakimah Nur Diniyah
Senior Educational Therapist & EdTech Facilitator, Member (RETA)
Main Literacy Programme, Bedok Learning Centre

Learn more about Hakimah!