Monday, November 29, 2010

A Benefit of Collecting Students' Work Online

One of the tasks of teaching that I've always struggled with is returning graded student work consistently on-time. Evaluating and assigning the grades is not the problem, the problem is actually sacrificing classroom time to pass back students' work. I know I'm not the only teacher who struggles with this. To combat my "problem" I've stopped accepting paper assignments.

My school is in the second year of being 1:1 with netbooks and this year I'm only accepting assignments in electronic form (with a couple of minor exceptions made for extenuating circumstances). What this means for me is that I can evaluate students' assignments and return them to students without having to spend instructional time passing-out papers. For assignments like rough drafts this gives me a few more minutes to conference with each student about his or her work. Online collection and return of work also means that both the student and I have a copy of his or her work. Finally, the services I use for collection timestamp the work so there is no dispute about whether or not an assignment was submitted on time.

I use two tools to collect students' work online. Most of my students are using Google Documents for their written work so "turning-in" their work is a simple matter of sharing their documents. The same is true for Google Maps projects and any slideshows they create.

I also use DropItToMe to collect students' work. Using DropItToMe students can upload files to my Drop Box account without seeing any other files in the Drop Box. Students who don't have internet access at home and use a desktop word processor use DropItToMe when they get to school in the morning to submit their assignments. I'm also using DropItToMe to collect video and audio files from students. You can learn more about using DropItToMe here.

Another Drop Box service that I haven't tried yet, but has potential to be good is Air Dropper.