What are some ways that “digitizing” assignments will improve your teaching, class, or your organization?
I commonly “digitize” my classroom experience using everything from graphing tools, online grading/tracking systems, and Google Apps for Education. In fact, The American School of Bangkok is officially a Google School.
To centralize my courses and provide 24-hour access for my students, homework assignments and critical documents are posted on a Google Site. It’s a scrolling timeline of assignments and their due dates and the accompanying documents are always accessible.
Currently the school is using a terrible gradebook program, TeacherPlus, that requires Firefox and the Silverlight plug-in to operate. Silverlight loves to crash, TeacherPlus takes eternity to load and/or respond to commands. Last year we used Engrade, from Google, and it was wonderful. My students and their parents always had immediate online access to their grades. It has an incredibly friendly user interface. Combined with the Google site the necessity for parent-teacher communication was often minimized because parents had access to much of the information that could answer their questions. It matters that Google’s servers have the processing power to work quickly as grade entry was a brief exercise.
My favorite graphing tool is Desmos. It’s a free graphing utility that allows me to demonstrate different mathematical functions and teach graphing technology to my students. It also has three dimensional utilities available, but the syntax and protocol will require a tutorial for me to learn.
A technology I am interested in making use of in the future is an app called Aurasma. With it you can set an icon of some form linked to different gif-like images and information. You can print a series of icons and use the Aurasma scanner on your phone cam to detect them. You can create an interactive bulletin board that connects to different images, videos, and other files that the students created.