Teacher Kit Update

October 19, 2013

This week one of my most used apps received a very useful update. I use Teacher Kit every day at school, it is my register, mark book and behaviour monitor for each class.

The update came with an optional in app purchase to allow you to generate reports, it cost £1.99 but I think it is worth it.

Now when I open my class, I am given a breakdown of the class performance (attendance, grade book and behavior).

You can generate a much more detailed report by tapping on the report button at the top of the screen.

Instead of tabs to access the different areas in each class, you now have to tap a menu button at the top (slightly more long winded, which is annoying).

But the feature that I liked the most was the ability to generate individual reports on pupils (very useful for the upcoming parents evening!). For obvious reasons I have hidden all the pupils details!

I am quite interested to see how useful the data analysis becomes as the year progresses, especially as we are only 1/2 a term in.

Edmodo – Marking Work

September 14, 2013

Now that my pupils are on Edmodo, I have had the first round of preps handed in through it. Almost all of my pupils successfully 'turned in' their prep via Edmodo (some got a bit confused and emailed it to me instead). I thought you might like to see how the marking process works. In order to protect my pupils I have blurred out their names and avatars.

In the notification centre at the top of the screen, I can see how many assignments have been turned in for me to mark. I can click on this link and will take me to the list of assignments, but I prefer to do it by class.

In the assignment I can see who has turned in their work (they are blue). When I click on each pupil I can preview their work (by clicking on the annotate button – shown with the red arrow) or download their work. Then I give it a mark (I did mine out of 10), rate it with a smiley face (which I find very annoying) and include a comment if I wish. The mark I allocate is automatically added to my grade book.

In the grade book as well as seeing all the grades I've given, I can also award badges. These appear on the pupils profile page and it's really easy to create custom made ones.

Here you can see that Harry has received a badge for an excellent mood board. You can also see that pupils can set up limited things on their profile. They can choose a favourite quote, add in how they like to learn and a career goal.

Edmodo gives you a series of badges you can award, but it's quick and easy to start building up a bank of custom badges specific to the way you mark.

Something else I quite liked was being able to see how many pupils had turned in their assignments on the assignment itself.

Plus all your assignments appear in your Edmodo planner (pupils will find it appears in their planner as well, which is useful if they have more than one teacher using Edmodo).

I thought that my older pupils would find the badges 'childish', but they got quite excited when I awarded the first batch. Some asked me (quite indignantly) why they hadn't been given a badge, I explained that they are given for going above and beyond the work set. So it will be interesting to see if what happens when the next set of prep is 'turned in'!


Setting up Edmodo

September 7, 2013

This week I have been meeting my new classes (and saying hello to some of the classes that I have kept on). With my new yr 9 and yr 10 classes I have decided to trial Edmodo as a means of setting and collecting homework.

I’ve been hearing a lot about Edmodo in my Twitter feed, but I’d never seen it in use, so I wasn’t really sure how it would work. All the screen shots are from the iPad app. However the app doesn’t yet have the same functionality as the website.

First of all I set up my teacher profile, you can do this by clicking on the ‘I’m a Teacher’ on the sign up screen.

Your pupils can see your profile page, and the other teachers you are connected to (my yr 9’s were very curious about these other teachers.)

You can then set up your classes. Each class has a group code which your pupils use to join your class.

During my first lesson with each class I explained what Edmodo was, showed them how to join, and reminded them that the shared wall in our class space on Edmodo was an extension of our classroom – not somewhere to post inane comments to each other.

At the end of our first lesson I set homework through Edmodo (in my school it is called prep). I made sure to show the pupils how to submit their prep through Edmodo, and most of my pupils have successfully done this (some didn’t quite understand the process, so I may have to go through it again).

When the pupils see this assignment post it has a button labeled ‘turn in’. When they click on this they can upload their prep (and rate it with a smiley face?!). I can then mark it through Edmodo, but more on that (possibly) next week.

I can keep track of the preps I have set, and how many have submitted it through the progress page. You can see here that there are 2 preps under my GCSE RM group. This is because I have 2 small groups within the class, as I have separate sets. By having smaller groups it enables me to set prep to the individual set, while still being able to post to the whole group.

Last of all, you can upload things to your Edmodo library. These files can be included as part of the prep set, so next week there will be a worksheet for my yr 9’s to complete as part of their prep.

It is still early days, but so far I am quite liking Edmodo. Although next week I have to help one of my pupils log in again as he has forgotten his username and password! (Fortunately I can see everyone’s username and reset passwords).

I will keep you updated with how this Edmodo experiment goes.

Yet Another Planner

March 23, 2013

As one of my pupils said on Friday ‘my RM project feels like my baby,and now I’ve got to give it up’. It was deadline day on Friday and all of my pupils had to submit their GCSE project (which is worth 60% of their final grade). This project is the biggest body of work they have had to assemble for any of their subjects and they get a bit panicky towards the end. When I have finished sorting out their made products and put them on display, I’ll post a picture so you can see the sort of things we make.

Anyway, back to this week. For the last 10 weeks I have been trialling a new teacher planner with one of my classes. My year 9 class have a 10 week rotation between the different Engineering subjects, so it seemed the ideal opportunity to try something out without having to commit.

This new planner is called iTeacherBook and it is from the same company that made iStudiezpro which is useful student planner (quite a few of my pupils use it).

The main page looks just like a calendar. As you can see I took the picture from next week, but only because every other day had a pupils name on it (and I thought it wise not the tempt the data protection act!). On the day when I teach the class, I automatically get a register on the right side of the screen when the lesson is due to start. The left side of the screen has all my appointments for the day (it populates from my iPad calendar). So I can see that it would be easy to set up all my classes and have the timetable view I wanted (just).

The class was very easy to set up, and you can see your individual classes under the ‘planner’ tab at the bottom of the screen.

What I found frustrating was the setting and marking of homework. When you set a homework in the app, it automatically goes through five stages.

  1. Assignment created
  2. Available to students
  3. Submitted by students
  4. Already graded
  5. Given back to students
But you have to manually tab each homework between the stages. It’s only a little thing, but it really annoyed me.
Unlike Teacherkitwhich I have been trialling for a while, I find it very difficult to assign average grades to my pupils in iTeacherbook.
So will I be switching my other classes over?
Not while iTeacherbooks only advantage is a calander view, and Teacherkit is generally better and easier to use.

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