Review by Amanda Bindel, Common Sense Education | Updated February 2019

Spiral

Provide instant feedback with collaborative, multimedia assessment tool

Subjects & skills
Subjects
N/A

Skills
  • Communication & Collaboration
  • Critical Thinking
Grades This grade range is based on learning appropriateness and doesn't take into account privacy. It's determined by Common Sense Education, not the product's publisher.
3–12
Common Sense says (See details)
Teachers say (1 Review)
Privacy (See details)

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Pros: All students, even reluctant speakers, are given a voice.

Cons: Creating and assigning effective content can be confusing and requires some legwork.

Bottom Line: Engaging, easy-to-use tool that supports both formative and summative assessment while allowing for student collaboration.

Spiral is an interactive learning platform that teachers can use for quick assessment, student collaboration, interactive video, and flipped classroom activities. Probe deeply by discussing an essential question or a video with students in real time. Use the Team Up feature and monitor progress as students create collaborative presentations about current events, novels, or math and science topics. Show exemplary responses with the class as they create so that they can see models as they work, and cut down on the conundrum of "Who did what?" by viewing each student's contribution on your screen.

Grade assignments automatically or individually, and check whole-class understanding by viewing question-by-question statistics. Want to have students work independently or flip your classroom? Create an assignment, and then send students the link for them to access it at school or at home (with the Teacher Pro version). Finally, sync your classes quickly with Google Classroom to enhance learning and provide variety.

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Spiral is a multi-use platform that allows teachers to create interactive learning experiences, pre-planned or on the fly. Basic account setup is easy and free, and it stops short of trying to do too much by offering just four types of activities: Quickfire, Clip, Team Up, and Discuss. Quickfire allows teachers to assign a quiz or ask a question. Teachers can send back inadequate responses immediately and ask students to improve and resubmit responses. Clip allows users to create interactive videos, stopping periodically to check understanding or discuss content. Team Up allows teachers to randomize or assign teams and have students create presentations that hold each member accountable. Finally, Discuss allows users to participate in interactive presentations by asking questions, sharing pictures, and responding to others.

Teachers can sync classes from Google Classroom and create activities within Spiral or using G Suite. The paid version offers more features, such as the ability to flip your classroom by giving students access to assignments at home.

Spiral allows teachers to freely create learning activities that inspire the four C's -- creativity, communication, collaboration, and critical thinking -- while promoting understanding and accountability. Teachers can quickly assess students' understanding of concepts by asking open-ended questions and seeing all answers at once. Teachers can also ask a student to improve an answer with one click, enhancing the learning strategies of iteration and feedback. The ability to launch and populate learning activities within seconds prevents lost instructional time, though creating effective content will take a good amount of effort from teachers up front.

Spiral's integration with any internet-connected device is a plus for both one-to-one computing and bring-your-own-device (BYOD) environments. Teachers can share assignments and collaborate with other teachers from within the tool, too.

Overall Rating

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

Student interaction and ability to work on team assignments will engage kids as long as teachers create interesting, grade-appropriate assignments.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?

Offers flexibility to create effective learning activities that can support a variety of curricular goals and instructional strategies. 

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?

Responsive to feature suggestions and feedback to improve the user experience. A few ready-made activities that teachers can customize for their needs would be helpful.


Common Sense Reviewer
Amanda Bindel Classroom teacher

Teacher Reviews

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Featured review by
kate c. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
Sparken Hill Academy
Worksop, United Kingdom
An amazing app for teacher -pupil interaction but also pupil-pupil interaction. Such variety for how you can use it and adored by my pupils. Formative assessment in such a quick and effective way.
I have used Spiral in my class for quite a while now and am amazed by how much my pupils and myself love the app. It is easy to use with a little practise and really does make teaching more effective. Yes at times it can be glitchy as it is continually being updated and made better but the spiral team are always available to speak to or email for help.
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