A question from Con on Friday – “What tech tools are you playing with at the moment?”
I cannot say “wrong question” when we are only up to question two, but anyone who has sat through my classes knows I repeat ad nauseum “need first, not the tool”.
I am trying to streamline student marking as much as possible right now, as my university only allocates me marking time each semester of one hour per student per unit (not per assignment). (Re-read that. Yes, it is not a typo). Unless I am very careful with my time and disciplined, that does not give me time to read the work with the respect it deserves plus give feedback that helps the student. At the moment I am not effective, so the choice becomes spending time with my kids or doing my job well.
I feel dirty admitting it, but two of the tools I am playing around with are within the Learning Management System, Blackboard..
1. Learning Journals. These give students a blog-like space online that only I and they can see. Timestamping for every version of each post means I can see what the work looked like at the deadline and mark that version, or students can contact me to ask for late marking with a marks penalty. This works well with the tech that I get them to play with, as I can get them to do a sequence of tasks on a real world site, like Google Reader, then take a screenshot with their name in the address bar and embed it in their Learning Journal.
2. Marking Rubrics. These can be attached to an assignment so that when I mark an assessment online, I click on a student name and a grid appears with a range of marks and comments about what these mean. I can just select the mark from the range offered for each competency and these are automatically inserted as the student grade. When the marks are released the student sees their own performance on the grid. If I was strong then I would just use the rubric and not write feedback too – but….but…but… I still do.
3. Dragon Dictation. Not Blackboard-based of course. I have ordered this speech-to-text package for my work computer and it is being installed next week. I hope that by dictating feedback I can do it much quicker. I am not sure how effective this will be, as often I cut and paste in comments, having saved previous students’ comments in Evernote for later use.
What do I wish I was playing with right now instead?
Autodesk SketchbookPro on my iPad … If only to pick up some more skills so that I can make something less scary than this image that Mr-then-8 insisted we create together.
So, Con, what tech tool are you playing with at the moment? And, since you are answering the next question the day after, please tell me how you respond to this email question we received from Sandy yesterday “How do you feel about manners today vs manners of days gone?”