iPad and Google Apps to Manage a Classroom (Pt. 2)
This is part two of three about my presentation at NACTE 2011 on managing a classroom using the iPad and Google Apps. In part one, I focused on the reasons why a teacher would want to use these tools, the Google calendar, and Google Docs. In this part, I am going to focus grading using the iPad and Google forms. In terms of managing my classroom, this has had the biggest impact because it saves me time and I can give students instant feedback.
The first step in the process is to create a form in Google Docs using my desktop computer. I create a form for each class period that I teach and I enter the student’s names so they will appear as a drop-down list on my iPad. I only have to create this form once for each class period because I reuse the form for each assignment I grade.
Once the form is created, I email the form to myself. I open the link to the form on my iPad in Safari. In Safari, I can create a bookmark to be placed on my home screen. I complete this process for each class period’s form. In addition, I created a “Work Ethic” and “Presentation” grading forms. I use the Work Ethic form to log off-task behavior. At my school, our students complete several presentations a year and I use the Presentation form and my Brookstone keyboard for the iPad to provide feedback on those presentations.
In a typical day in my classroom, I will give notes during the first 20 minutes of class and give the students the remaining 60 minutes to complete the day’s assignment or work on the current project. While the students are working on the current day’s assignment, I am walking around to each student grading the previous assignment. I am entering the grade into the iPad for the student, submitting the form, and returning back to the form so I can grade the next student.
The great thing about grading this way is that the student receives instant feedback about the assignment and knows his or her grade before I move on to the next student. If a student completed the assignment incorrectly, I can explain what the student did wrong and have the student redo the assignment for a better grade. In addition, the student can also ask me questions about the current day assignment to make sure he or she is doing it correctly.
I am usually able to get through the entire class in the 60 minutes that they are working on assignments or projects. Once I have graded the entire class, I can open the form in Google Docs on my desktop computer. In the form (which is now a spreadsheet), I can sort by student name, highlight all of the scores, and copy and paste the scores into my gradebook. If the scores/feedback that are in the spreadsheet are scores that I want to keep, I make a copy of the form and name it after the assignment. If I don’t want to keep the scores, I just delete the rows of data in the spreadsheet and my form is ready to go for our next class meeting.
Here’s a quick tip on copying and pasting scores into the gradebook. If you have students that are absent on the day you are grading, you must enter a grade for them into the form. If you don’t do this step, the copy and paste from the spreadsheet will not match up.
In part three, I will be discussing the last portion of my presentation, which is on other apps that I use in managing my classroom.