Mr. History's Neighborhood

A space for me to share my exploration of educational 'teachnology''

There are a lot of grading apps out there and I have used most of them. All of them have some ‘stock’ features - usually dealing with analytics and data mining. One app has risen over the years to be my ‘go to’ grading app - despite being the most expensive choice.

That app is Gradecam.

Gradecam has been around for a while and was one of the first companies to try to harness the power of your cell phone camera to make the Scan-tron obsolete. Like many pioneers, they had their hiccups, but I was an early adopter and liked their platform. I stopped using it when my school district had an issue with Gradecam’s servers. If you can’t access the server, grading is an issue.

So, I tried other apps - Quick-key and ZipGrade were my favorites. And they were pretty cheap. They also were solid, reliable grading apps But I missed the flexibility of Gradecam and was excited when a change in the regime at our CO tech department ended the Gradecam server exile.

So why am I happy to pay $15 of my hard-earned money a month for these guys?

Three words. Features. Features. Features.

Gradecam is easily the most flexible and powerful grading app I’ve used. In my time away from it, the team put in some serious work. While it is the most expensive - $15 a month - the reliability and the features have saved me countless hours of manual grading.

Creating an assignment is pretty easy. Gradecam does require a little extra front-loading but the time saved on the grading side more than makes up for the time invested.

You have the choice of a full-out multiple question assignment, a simple scoring box, or a credit assignment. The first gives you powerful options for laying out an answer sheet - everything from simple bubbles (up to ten letters), rubrics (up to 10), rubric scoring with a capture area, and number grids. If your district adopts a district plan, there are even more powerful tools available.

Using Gifs for bellwork is something that can be a powerful tool. Students enjoy them, and teachers can use these images to get students to engage in a wide variety of creative tasks. This is a no-brainer for Language, Language Arts, and Creative Writing teachers.

Throw this up on the Whiteboard and have the students write a short narrative on it. Describe the scene. Create a short-short story. Have them write two sentences and pass it along - the old ‘telephone’ game.

Used correctly - and sparingly - this can be a fun change-up from the usual bellwork or quick-write.

One piece of advice - if you are linking to a site, be careful. Instagram and deviantart can be great resources but you might find content that may not be appropriate. You also want to make sure that any links or embeds you create for your students are not blacklisted by your district.

Hi Folks!

Thanks for visiting.

Since Google Drive, I have been an early adopter of teaching technologies. With an English teacher, I piloted a very early version of google apps for education. I have piloted, beta’d or been involved in testing and applying tools ranging from WordPress sites for my students, blogging, v-blogging, remind (back when it was remind101), gradecam and other grading apps, and - one of my favs - Plickrs!

A lot of my colleagues ask me about solutions for this, that, or another thing and I decided that I would create an online resource where I share all my experiences, opinions, and tutorials (past and future).

So, if you are here because I gave you the magic ticket - welcome! If you stumbled upon my neighborhood - doubly welcome (there is nothing as grand as an unexpected guest, is there?)!

I hope you find this resource useful…it is the beginning of a new year and any teacher knows how that is for us. It might take a bit for me to get content up and get myself in the groove of ‘feeding’ this site. So be patient - I promise I will try to make it worth your time.