Looking for a way to electronically mark students’ work?

…Or are you looking for a way to collaborate with colleagues?
Crocodoc - web-based annotation tool

Over the last week, I’ve been using crocodoc.com with my IB examining colleagues in order to discuss samples of students work. I can certainly see many benefits for us in the High School.

Crocodoc is a very easy way to annotate and mark student’s work that is in PDF, word document for or even images. You create an account and upload files which you can then share with students and colleagues. Anyone you share with can add comments, highlight areas and make annotations.

And a note about the upcoming mock exams…

Now that we are coming to the examination season, our Grade 12 IB Diploma students are required to ‘hand-write’ their papers which means that there is one hard copy of the student’s work. That’s fine as you can physically mark and comment on the paper and give feedback to the individual student. However, why not consider scanning, uploading and annotating electronically one or two high-scoring papers to Crocodoc to share with your students to provide and discuss the marking and allow all students the benefit of the feedback as well as providing good model answers? An added benefit is that you have an online record of the annotated work that you may want to share with other students or colleagues for moderation purposes in the future.

To get started and try out Crocodocs, go here.

Example of editing student work

Crocodocs is FREE and currently available here in China….so get started and see how you go!

The ‘6 Degrees of Kevin Bacon’ Integration Model

Have you played the ‘Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon’ game? It was a favourite with our IT team when sitting in traffic on our way back from technology get-togethers in Bangkok. To quote Wikipedia:

[It] is a trivia game based on the concept of the small world phenomenon and rests on the assumption that any individual can be linked through his or her film roles to actor Kevin Bacon within six steps. The name of the game is a play on the “six degrees of separation” concept.

You can play the game here www.thekevinbacongame.com or oracleofbacon.org

So what’s this to do with Technology Integration? For an integrator, what is the best use of  time to make the biggest impact on student learning? How many degrees of separation from the students is the ideal measure?

0 degrees

If you work directly with the students such as team-teaching or providing in-class technical support, that means that you can only work with one high school class at a time. No degrees of separation but time consuming if you multiply this for each teacher delivering the same course – which at my school could be 6 different teachers for one subject as we have 6 classes per year group. OK – so the students benefit from your expertise but how does this support the teacher for future, dynamic, seamless infusion of technology?

1 degree

However, if you work with the whole team of teachers and use your time to co-plan, prepare materials, provide training and set up the systems and provide limited in-class support, that means that you are generally one degree of separation from the students as it is the teacher that is the one on the front line and promoting technology in the classroom – and in doing so, that teacher gains experience in using the technology, becomes more confident in using technology in the classroom and, mostly importantly, is to seek out future opportunities in which to use technology in the learning process.

Six Degrees of the Bacon Brothers (from Flickr by Peter Roome)

2 degrees

What about 2 degrees of separation? Well, we think of this as any tool that indirectly impacts students learning, for example, training teachers to use their email or set up contact groups to use Powerschool or setting up Turnitin accounts.

3 degrees

3 degrees of separation could be working with Heads of Department or Grade Level Leaders to set up communication systems (for example, a wiki), for planning within their department or grade level. As an integrator, is this too far removed from the students? Would it be better to set up the wiki and then ‘train’ the teachers on how it is used,  i.e. go back to to 2 degrees?

3+ degrees

Anything more than 3 degrees and you may as well join the Kevin Bacon fan club or visit the Bacon Brothers website!

Ideally, for now, I am trying for the ‘1 degree model‘ – that does mean less direct contact with students but more time to work with teachers and build bespoke resources; however, I balance my time with two classes of my own – IB ITGS – which allows me to sandbox and trial new ideas and addressing the technical and logistical issues before ‘going public’.

Questions to ponder:

  • How often are you or your integrators closer to Kevin Bacon than your students?
  • What is the ideal degree of separation?
  • What is the ideal integration model?
  • Should integrators have their own classes?

When writing this entry, I stumbled upon SixDegrees.org, which is a charitable initiative of Kevin Bacon. SixDegrees.org is about using this idea to accomplish something good – it’s social networking with a social conscience. It was started with the nonprofit Network for Good in January 2007, more than 10 years after the game, “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” made the rounds of college campuses and lived on to be a shorthand term for the small world phenomenon.