Monday, November 17, 2014

I just want to get things done faster.

I've been working on my seven year old computer that I love and adore, and I finally broke down and bought a new machine so that I could actually get things done.  That includes blogging.  No more starting a blog post and then walking away while my computer tries uploading pictures or gets stuck thinking for 20 minutes...hopefully this will help me stay in touch with you all a little more frequently.  We'll see.  I'm all about being productive and efficient.

We are gearing up for the end of the trimester...which means grade cards and conferences!  It also means I need to have my data all together, organized, and analyzed so I know just what we need to address (academically speaking) when I sit down with students and parents.

Assessments are disguised in so many different forms in the classroom, so collecting all that information and sharing it is a big job.  I collect tons of data on my students through formative and summative assessments every day.  I'm not a huge "fill in the bubble" teacher, but sometimes it's just what needs to be done.  

Since I'm focusing on my productivity and efficiency at home and school, here's what I'm using to help me out with those fill in the bubble assessments when I do give them.  GradeCam is my new buddy.

First, the basic use of GradeCam is FREE.  I can use it on my laptop or tablet, which is nice.  There are paid subscriptions if you want to use more features, but for the basic good stuff, there's no cost.  The only real downside I see to the only free version is that your forms/answer keys can only be up to 10 questions.  Then again, I don't know if that is a downside because it seems like a great quick assessment for students in elementary grades.  

For new accounts, you would set up your classroom roster and you're all set.  I lucked out because my district did this for me, but it's pretty quick when you do it yourself.

Once I log in, I build an assessment answer key.  I prefer to do this on my laptop, but either way is super easy.  (clearly, if I had to pick my poison, it would be Diet Dr. go to when I need to be productive)

Once you build an answer key, you create your forms.  You can make your forms in various sizes, so if you want more than one on a page, this is where you do it.  I made short forms with six to a page, but these were longer so I did two to a page.

The awesome part about GradeCam is that the student names and IDs are automatically filled in for you.  Students don't have to do it, and you don't have to worry about names being missing (never!) or done incorrectly.  Plus the kids just don't have to spend time doing it- they can get straight to work.

Their full names do show up on the left hand side of the answer page, but I didn't include that picture because it would be my students' full names...

Then the best part... once students are done, you just scan each page and it inserts the answers and scores them for you!  Yay!

You can view your data in a spreadsheet or have it graphed all together or by category- most missed question, percentage, etc.

Don't mind those terrible scores on the top picture... this was for a writing assessment so the percentages don't actually matter.

Another cool thing about GradeCam- you can set your scanner to class mode, so when students turn their page in, they just scan it under the camera and it's all done!  They can't see anyone else's information or their score on your computer screen when it's set to classroom scan mode.  Then you don't even have to scan it later because it's already done!  What?!?!  

I'm so excited that my district introduced me to this!  It's great (and maybe a little overwhelming) to switch schools (states/regions/whatever) and see all the cool resources that schools are using.


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