Friday, August 22, 2008

Free Student Management Tool - Engrade

Many schools are moving to student management systems that allow parents and students to view their grades and upcoming assignments online. These systems are generally expensive and time consuming to install and maintain, therefore there are still a lot of schools that don't have student management systems allowing parent and student access. For teachers working in school districts that don't have a student management system that parents and students can view online there are some free web-based options available to you. One of these options is Engrade.

Engrade is a very streamlined, easy-to-use, student management system. A teacher can establish a grade book and an attendance register in a matter of minutes on Engrade. The user interface is very intuitive, perhaps the most intuitive grade book interface that I've seen on any student management system. Students and their parents can view current grades, future due dates, and student attendance records. The only shortcoming of the Engrade service is that teachers have to manually input an identification number for each student. Students need a unique identification number in order to login to their accounts.

Click here to view the Engrade demonstration video.

Ed Tech Podcasts of the Week

As I do every week, I spent a few hours listening to podcasts about educational technology. I checked out two new-to-me podcasts, Ed Tech Crew and The Clever Sheep. And as I do every week I listened to Wicked Decent Learning and Tech Talk 4 Teachers.

Ed Tech Crew is produced by two technology educators in Australia. As you might expect the Ed Tech Crew discusses the technology resources they find and their ideas about technology education. In the most recent episode the Ed Tech Crew discusses a problem they ran into having too many students logging into gmail at the same time. The Ed Tech Crew, Tony and Darrel, also review the animated movie maker, Go Animate which they described as "Comic Life on steroids."

The Clever Sheep aka Teacher 2.0 is produced by Rod Lucier. The Clever Sheep podcasts are short, thought provoking podcasts about educational technology and education in general. The Clever Sheep caught my attention with the current podcast's title, "School is Not a Place." In this episode Rod talks about trying new things in the classroom and the challenges teachers face in trying new things in the classroom.

This week on Wicked Decent Learning Jeff and Dan discuss the start of a new school year and classroom organization. Jeff and Dan discuss the different philosophies that teachers have about classroom decorations and student seating arrangements.

Tom Grissom released episode 50 of Tech Talk 4 Teachers this week, congratulations Tom! This week Tom discusses responding to requests for technology trouble shooting. Tom offers some great tips and reminders for those who will be responding to technology "emergencies" at the beginning of the school year. My favorite tip is to make sure people are pressing the "On" button. Check out the rest of Tom's tips at Tech Talk 4 Teachers.

If you know of a great podcast that I should be listening to, even if it's your own, please leave a comment and I'll check it out.