Sunday, May 19, 2013

A Paperless Classroom?

Hello Education World-

With one week to go in our school year, I did a little experiment in a paperless assignment.  

A quick trip through the Illinois government after our field trip to Springfield allowed me to use a web quest that we have done in the past about the major details of our state government.

In the past, I have just given students a copy of the web quest that they filled out on their own and turned in like conventional assignment as they worked through it.

This time however, I attached the document to Edmodo.  I was actually out of the school on a personal day for a wedding the day the web quest was completed.  I left instructions for my kids to download the web quest from Edmodo.  I used the "Developer" tab in Microsoft Word to add form fields so students only could type their answers into the document.  They cannot alter the format of the document, which makes things so much simpler.

I would strongly suggest to anyone that if you are going to give a student a digital assignment to utilize this feature.  For a quick run-through on how to do it, here's some more help:

Anyways, my students completed the assignment rather efficiently and then re-saved and submitted the assignment to Edmodo.  No paper, nothing to take home, nothing for a 27-year-old teacher who has been guilty of misplacing an assignment or two in his career (that's why I have a hard time holding it against the kids) to lose.

More importantly, the "comments" feature on Edmodo allows me to give feedback individual to each student.  Because I can grade assignments like this on my computer, I work on them while I'm sitting with my wife, watching TV, or as I'm getting ready to go to sleep.  Grading in bed is probably my ideal way to provide effective feedback.  Might as well be comfortable.  But effective feedback is a best practice identified by Marzano in his meta-analysis, so responding to each student quickly is a good thing.

I also took the liberty to post to Edmodo a comment or two about the web quest that would clarify things to all students.  They all struggled with what the "county seat" was, so adding a quick comment to all students is another small layer of instruction that can hopefully be seen by several students.

Making sure that there are other things are happening on Edmodo makes sure that kids check it on their own.  Next time, I'll tell you about Mike, the History-Loving Robot.  Mike is just a character I have created, with his own Edmodo account.  He comments randomly and also speaks to my kids through youtube videos.  Take a look:

Until next time,

Mr. J.

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