When I first looked at Frolyc I thought it was a lesson planning tool. Somewhat like Khan Academy’s mashable lesson plans or Mentor Mob’s playlist of activities–or Knowmia‘s carefully-crafted materials that can be shared throughout their communities. But the more I dug into it, the more I realized that I was selling Frolyc short. Yes, it can curate content–for me, more easily than these others–in preparation for a flipped classroom lesson or independent student study. I could quickly collect a wide variety of interactive materials and distribute them to students nicely grouped under a theme. Yes, it can deliver low-stakes testing to students while they work, to evaluate learning and determine if appropriate scaffolding has been provided to insure understanding. Teachers have adopted short and quick formative assessments to inform them about whether the lesson they’re teaching is achieving the desired results. Typically, this requires a separate student log-in through an add-on tool like Today’s Meet and Socrative. I liked that Frolyc integrated it into the platform–no need to go elsewhere.
But Frolyc could do more. The lesson plan I created could easily be differentiated to accommodate varied student learning styles by tweaking it before pushing it out to student accounts. When the student logs on to their iPad-based account, they get not a mass-produced lesson, one-size-fits-all, but one that addresses his/her range of knowledge, needs, and learning style. With a nominal amount of work on the teacher’s part, no two lesson plans need be the same, just as no two students are exactly alike.
Additionally with Frolyc, lesson plans became more than students passively consuming videos, text, websites–they included sharing ideas, comments, and collaboration.
Here’s how it works:
- the teacher logs onto their Frolyc account (on the Frolyc website). By the way, the website is clear, easily-maneuvered, simple to decode. I like the neat, organized approach to helping teachers get started and work.
- The site opens by asking what they would like to do? That can be start or edit a lesson, manage the classroom, or one of several other activities:
- To create/edit a lesson, the teacher accesses a screen that helps them develop a simple or multi-page plan using one or many multimedia activities. Creating new activities is intuitive–click ‘create new activity’, select an item, then select the type of activity (visual organizer, multiple choice, quiz, reading comprehension, word search, cause and effect based on a passage students read):
- Once the lesson plan is complete, it can be adapted to unique student requirements and directed to just the students who will benefit from the lesson plan or the entire group. Then, it is automatically synced with the student iPad through the associated app, Activity Spot.
- Students log onto their own account, wait while they are synced to teacher deliveries (if needed), and follow the lesson. This, like the Frolyc website, is simple for students to use, clear, and intuitive. I like that they can join with a class code provided by the teacher–no worries about log-ins and passwords.
- What’s the difference on the teacher and student sides? Let’s say the teacher creates a lesson that asks students to create a drawing. The teacher’s lesson would look like this:
- When the student accesses it in the Activity Spot classroom, it looks like this:
- As students work, their activity is immediately recorded to the teacher dashboard.
A few more notes on Frolyc:
- teacher can search for material by Common Core Standards
- teacher can specify Lexile level for activities
- there are lots of assessment options
- teacher-created activities can be private, accessible only by one student, a class, or a particular log-in. It can also be public to all Frolyc members
- there are lots of how-to videos to visually explain the processes. I never felt lost.
- as students complete their work, the teacher dashboard is automatically updated
- teachers can create up to six classrooms with as many as thirty students in each class.All of these can be viewed through the iPad Activity Spot.
- Frolyc’s blog includes lots of activity ideas related to the learning process, reading, math and more.
- Where does the name come from? According to its creator, Nirupalma Bala, the name Frolyc is a play on the word frolic:
“We believe that the learning process is frolicking when students are immersed, involved and challenged.”
- only thing I didn’t like: the sounds on the iPad. But that’s probably just me.
There is a basic program and a premium upgrade. With the latter, teachers get unlimited assignments of activities to students, free access to paid activities (from other teachers), and student authoring of activities from within Activity Spot itself. “Free access to paid activities” will make the activity catalog a Netflix-like service where teachers can explore, test and try out any activity without having to pay for each. The paid upgrade–according to Frolyc–will be approx $48 for one year.
How to use Frolyc in the classroom:
- to create a lesson plan that can be pushed out immediately to student devices
- to differentiate lesson plans for unique student learning styles
- to create a quiz that assesses student understanding of a lesson just taught.
- to send a Youtube, Vimeo or LearnZillion video to watch on the iPad.
- to have students explain their thinking and create their own digital portfolio of personal writings and drawings.
This makes Frolyc perfect for a 1:1 classroom, for homework, or as a tutoring remediation device.
Anyone use it? How’d it go?
More classroom management tools:
Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-8 technology for 15 years. She is the editor/author of dozens of tech ed resources including a K-8 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum, and a wide variety of technology training books that integrate technology into education. She is webmaster for six blogs, CSG Master Teacher, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, CAEP reviewer, CSTA presentation reviewer, freelance journalist on tech ed topics, a tech ed columnist for Examiner.com, and a weekly contributor to TeachHUB. Currently, she’s editing a techno-thriller that should be out next summer.