The Time Sucker
I’ve been spending a lot of time the last two months on a little non-public website. It’s no secret – it’s just that by design it has about 35 users and is not open to the public. It started off simple – a place some kids could access online some photos Spinner uses as writing prompts for his class.
Then it expanded into a way for them to submit their related writing assignments online.
In the current iteration the class can get an assignment with text and related media online, and complete and return their assignments online. Students get teacher feedback as soon as it’s entered. True/False, multiple choice, fill in the blank, open-ended essays – it’s all there for the teacher to use, including some automated scoring. Cross-indexing lets the teacher look at a student’s entire semester work at once to get a feel for progress or issues, and share that with the parents. It even sends the parents e-mail copies of their kid’s work if they want.
Why? It saves trees. Teaches kids computer skills for the real world, while incorporating content not able to be shown in text-based ditto copies. Lets a certain school district off the hook with their draconian photocopy restrictions. My husband spends less time carting stacks of paper around, and so has more time for Diego (and possibly me-me-me-me-me).
And it did keep me busy while other business was slow this summer and pumped up my php and mySql skills a notch or two.