I’ve been teaching twenty years and in that time I have brought home thousands and thousands of pieces of paper, journals, sketchbooks, projects and everything imaginable to grade.
I’ve spent car rides and weekends and nights and family vacations hauling student work too and from so that I could attempt to stay on top of the never ending grading.
But over the last year that has changed!! Yay for technology! And with the start of this school year, things are even better.
The district I work in went 1:1 with student devices last year. That means that every 7th -12th grader has an ipad assigned to them for school purposes. These devices are for the students to use everyday for the school year. Along with that, we are a Google for Education district and we use the full spectrum of G Suite Tools.
It is a game changer!!
I no longer bring bags full of student work home. I no longer have canvas bags devoted to class period after class period of journals/sketchbooks. I no longer have lost papers, no name papers and the myriad of other paper tracking problems!
Even better, with the use of Google Classroom, I can grade, give real feedback and motivate students in almost real time! No longer are students waiting days for me to grade their work. No longer are the students sketchbooks in my canvas jail of waiting papers.
It truly is amazing.
And today was one of the really cool days, so I thought I’d share it with you.
I graded and gave feedback on 300 sketchbook drawings TODAY. During classes.
In previous years that would have taken me days and would have required me to lug 150 sketchbooks home. And I wouldn’t have written notes… cause I don’t write on student’s artwork.. and it would have taken FOREVER.
But today, as I clicked on the image, I gave super simple feedback, put a grade in, clicked post and moved on in seconds. These are starter, beginning of the year sketchbooks. They don’t need a thesis from me.
But I also was able to give encouragement that I typically wouldn’t take time to give unless I just remembered to days or weeks later. I would have wanted too, but when you grade at 10pm, you just don’t have the same emotional or mental resources that you do at 9am.
And I didn’t just give praise, that’s not who I am. My students would have wondered who was grading if I had! I gave specific feedback that would help as they completed their next drawings.
And there you have it.
I know that many bemoan the technology takeover.. but hallelujah for simple things that help transform a teachers workflow. Because of technology, I can give better feedback to students. I can differentiate for the individual needs of students. Students can turn work in early and move on or later after receiving more help.. and NO ONE knows but the teacher and the student!
There is so much good happening in education right now.
My goal this year is to focus on the good.