A few staff have been voicing questions about options regarding work-flow now that the iPads have been enthusiastically taken up by students.
What is a good way to set and receive assignments, give quality feedback and keep track of the students’ work?
I’m a huge fan of Edmodo, but Showbie is also operating in this territory so I thought it might be a good time to look at the two. Notice a said ‘a good way’ not ‘the best way’. I think that this will always be a matter of personal choice and so you probably need to take a look at both.
Edmodo handles the workflow described above and lots more too – but I’ll compare like for like by concentrating just on the assignment functions.
Edmodo and Showbie have similar sign up procedures for teachers and classes: teachers create a class name and a code is automatically generated for students to use when logging on. This prevents unauthorised access.
Email addresses are optional on both Showbie and Edmodo.
Setting an assignment and a due date is absolutely straightforward in both.
A nice feature on Showbie is the ability to add a voice message of instructions in addition to other resources you wish all students to have access. Edmodo also allows shared folders of resources which are available at all times – not just when the assignment is set.
In Edmodo, assignments can be set from the iPad, but according to the app store at the moment at least this can only be done on Showbie through the website – which some users might find frustrating. However, version for iPad 1.0.9. seems to allow this. It is now possible to share video in the shared folder too – so it is looking pretty impressive.
Students then complete the assignment and hand it in / turn it in to the teacher through the app. Both allow the teacher to see who has and hasn’t submitted.
Feedback in Edmodo is by text comment or by annotation on the students work. At the same time the work can be graded and given a friendly little emoticon by both student and teacher and both can make additional comments. The really neat feature on Edmodo is that all of these marks appear in a cumulative class Progress or Grade/Mark book which can even be exported. This might replace the traditional mark book for many teachers.
Feedback on Showbie has its own appeal. Teachers can preview the work in the app or then open it in a mark up-app such as Notability or Explain Everything and add comments. Again, that voice feedback will be appreciated by many busy teachers in being able to talk through issues and give quality feedback quickly. The option is there too to give longer text based replies. Marks or grades can be written into the text document but I can’t see a way of integrating them into a markbook (but do correct me if I’m wrong on this. This feedback is only available to students though the Showbie for ipad.
Take a look…
If you want a visual guide though the Showbie app you’ll find it here or on their site; Edmodo you will find here.
Here are two simple and effective solutions to work flow that will not require teachers to be particularly ‘techie’.
If work flow is all you are after, Showbie is a good solution. I particularly like the ease of adding voice messages. But if you are going down this route, why not go the extra step and adopt Edmodo? In addition to workflow, its ability to share work for peer review, communicate easily within the class and share resources just makes it the winner for me.