Over the summer, the Sparkjar design and development teams have been hard at work creating Sparkjar v5. The latest version of the app brings some big changes both above and under the hood, as well as laying the foundations for further great new features, due very soon. Here’s a quick tour of the main changes you’ll see in v5.0.
Assignments have gone!
But worry not, they've simply been replaced by Classwork and Homework.
We've split assignments into these two categories of student work in response to requests from teachers and pupils. We hope you’ll find they make the distinction between these types of task much clearer! This also paves the way for future changes designed to make Sparkjar's classwork feature even more powerful for the iPad classroom.
In addition, for both classwork and homework you’ll see that all tasks are grouped according to their current status, with tabs for draft, scheduled, active and complete. For shared classes there's also a clever filter to separate out your tasks from those of the teacher(s) you share the group with.
The workflow for setting a task has been simplified, with the existing immediately, recommended and specific time and date options for scheduling tasks in advance. There’s even the option to switch a task from classwork to homework and vice versa.
Topics and tasks now link!
Topics has been reengineered to allow classwork and homework tasks to be linked directly to individual topics. You can now also create linked classwork and homework tasks from within Topics.
Rather than having ‘hidden’ topics, you’ll now see all your topics organised into draft, active and completed tabs.
You can still duplicate topics between classes (even from previous years) and Sparkjar will suggest resources to you to add to topics as you update the original/duplicated versions elsewhere in the app.
Finally, we’ve added filtering to Topics too, so in a shared class you can easily view just those topics you're teaching.
Groups haven't disappeared!
Whilst the Groups feature has been removed from the menu options for each class, you can still create and use Groups to filter students when creating new Chat Rooms, setting Classwork / Homework tasks and viewing your Marksheet.
Just tap on 'Manage groups' to add new groups to use for filtering a class. Students don't see which groups you've placed them in, nor the names of the groups.
We'd love to know what you think...!
We hope you'll find these changes have made Sparkjar even more powerful for both you and your students. If you love our new features, please share your favourites via Twitter or LinkedIn with #sparkjar so your peers get to know who we are and what we do! We also love to hear your feedback directly, so please do let us know how it's going by using 'Contact Support' from the Settings menu within the app, or by emailing us directly via email@example.com