Kami Product Update – July 2021

CEO and Co-founder, Hengjie Wang, is in the Kami kitchen baking up something new for 2021.

Over the last 18 months, Kami students and teachers have embraced new tech and turned in over 300 million assignments; more than we could ever have dreamed of. 

So today, I want to go over a few Kami product updates we’ve been working on to show our ongoing gratitude, and how we want to keep making Kami better for you – both in and out of the classroom.

Serving up Kami 2020

Before we jump into the exciting new Kami product updates, I’d like to quickly recap some of the features we released since our last Kami Connect in February.

The Annotation Bank: A crowd favorite; this is like your personalized pocket of useful comments, notes, and recordings that can be repeated across any number of students’ assignments. This is to save you time when providing rich and detailed feedback for every student. 

Delete All Annotations: Now remove all annotations on your documents in just one click – keeping whiteboard documents fresh and ready for your next lesson. For smaller tweaks, we’ll also be making it possible to delete individual annotations in the coming weeks.

Faster Grading: We’ve leveled up our grading, making it work faster through our Chrome extension. Loading documents is now a lot quicker on Google Classroom, too. 

Feature Restrictions: This function is now available for Canvas. 

OneDrive integration: To our One Drive users: Kami is now fully integrated with OneDrive!  

Turn In button: Our ‘Turn In’ button now shows up in more places for Google Classroom.

What Kami product updates are baking in 2021

Now, we didn’t want to present just another tech update to you all – instead, we’re using a delicious metaphor to help bring the layers of our product update to life. 

So today, we’re baking a Kami cake! Because who doesn’t love cake??

Reliability: The Cake Foundations

We’ll start with the foundation of our Kami cake. 

It has to be strong, reliable, robust, and full of flavor – even when the internet isn’t working. 

Recently, Kami has seen record usage. And with more use, comes more opportunity to identify bugs or odd imperfections that we haven’t previously been able to see. 

So we did what any rational team would do, and shifted our engineering resources to focus on the reliability and stability of Kami, instead of focusing on the next new features. We want you to feel like Kami “just works” in the ways that you need it to.

For example, remote working has put Kami’s offline mode to the test. That’s why we spent a significant amount of our engineering time making sure your work is secure and never lost. You’ll definitely notice that things “just work” better now.  

Integration: The frosting in between

One thing we strive for with Kami is seamless integration with different Learning Management Systems – like the way frosting seamlessly integrates between layers of cake; it’s there to not only support our foundations but as a way of working in a little more of the good stuff we know and love!

Starting with Google Classroom, we have two updates to share:

Photo to PDF: Student-submitted photo files will now auto-upload as PDF files, once you’re done annotating in Kami, so students without Kami can see all your markups! 

Push Changes: Stress no more – Push Changes is a new way to push out live changes to an assignment after it’s been sent. We’ve got your back!

Next up, Canvas:

Copy a Course support: You can now copy and share assignments with other courses and teachers!

Observers: Kami supports co-teacher, parent, and administration observers – allowing for real-time monitoring of student work.

Feature Restriction: We now have feature restrictions for Canvas to give teachers the ability to turn on just the tools they want students to use for a particular assignment.

Kami Tab: Quickly access Kami documents from inside Canvas – find recently opened files and start from where you left off.

To make sure you can fully access these updates, simply reinstall the Kami External App through our new Canvas installer. This way, everything will automatically update without losing any work. For help on how to do this, click here.

And last, but definitely not least, Schoology:

iPad integration: We’re making it super easy to open assignments into Kami – all from Schoology’s iOS app.

Turn In support: We’re about to rebuild our “Turn In” feature to work without the need for our Chrome Extension – making it more reliable.

File organization: We’ve automated a better organization of files on Google Drive and One Drive. So your student copies will be organized by course.

Oh, there was one other thing… Microsoft Teams!

We’re teaming up with Microsoft to bring you Kami’s very own Microsoft Teams integration. Everything you know and love about Kami’s assignment flow has been rebuilt specifically for Microsoft Teams – so you can easily assign files, have the completed work saved back to One Drive, and then grade, all from Microsoft Teams.

Product update table
Optimizing features: The icing on the cake

Since we’ve spent the last year refining our recipe for reliability, we’ve freed up a few hands to start looking at some of the more exciting details…

After all, what’s a cake without a bit of icing? 

Coming in the next few months:

Word CountWe’re finally making it happen! Under our hamburger icon, you’ll be able to go to Document Properties and see how many words were typed into text boxes.

Colour palette: Last year, we upgraded our color palette to 250 colors. But in true Kami style, we’re going bigger. So, we’ll be releasing a color wheel feature!

New paper types: This was an update inspired by our community’s feedback! Soon we’ll have a range of new paper types, including 

  • Writing paper
  • Venn diagram template 
  • Cornell notes 
  • Isometric paper; 
  • Different kinds of line colors for elementary 
  • 1-inch graph sheets with graph templates 

Whatever paper helps you and your students learn, we’ll have it!

Fun features: The cherry on top

Of course, this wouldn’t be a Kami product update without some fun features. Just like it wouldn’t be a Kami cake without the fun toppings. 

With back to school fast approaching, we have some exciting little surprises for you, including:

Interactive Kami seating charts: Keep your eyes peeled for this fun resource that will help you build your best Kami classroom.

New back-to-school stickers: You’ll find these in the stickers tool over the coming weeks.

Coming soon: Kami Rewards: For years, you all have been spreading the word about Kami without us even having to ask – so it’s about time you got rewarded for it. 

Kami Rewards is our new referral program; every time you share the Kami love with teachers, and they sign up, you’ll earn points to unlock unique Kami features like exclusive stickers, personalized Kami-mojis and lots more to be announced soon.

Available late August to early September. Find out more here.

Have your cake, eat it too!

As you can see, Kami wouldn’t be truly Kami without all the fun, exciting bits. But, none of it works without a stable and reliable base. 

Luckily, we work hard to make sure you’re able to enjoy the best of both worlds. 

If you’re a teacher keen on trying out our latest Kami product updates and changes as soon as possible, you can join our Beta test group – head here to apply

Now, who’s hungry?

Kami Cake

Resources

Canvas installer: kami.app/canvasinstaller

Kami Rewards: kamiapp.com/rewards

Beta test group: Apply here

Speaker: Hengjie Wang is the CEO and one of the four Co-Founders of Kami, transforming teaching and learning for millions around the world. Inspired by a need to reinvent the pen and paper note-taking method, Hengjie’s entrepreneurial journey began in 2012 when he signed up Kami, formerly known as Notable PDF, for The University of Auckland’s entrepreneurial competition together with Jordan Thoms and Alliv Samson. In the program, they met their mentor, now Kami Chairman and Chief Revenue Officer, Bob Drummond. Fast forward to now, Hengjie is responsible for the day-to-day company’s growth.

Twitter: @Hengjiew