New and innovative ways to better use the iPad in teaching!
Now that it's the middle of summer, rubrics are probably the furthest thing from your minds. However, unfortunately it won't be long from now that we will be knee-deep in marking. ForAllRubrics is one of my best finds online in a long time. This is a free “service” for teachers that works on iPad and iPhone. Now, teachers will be able to create rubrics and easily use their iOS devices to assess all of their students.
This is not an actual iOS “app”, but rather a mobile web app. This means that you will not find it in the App store, but instead it runs off of your browser on your devices. Saving the website address to your home screen creates an icon which acts like an app.
Take a look at the official promo video from the developers:
Sign up here for a teacher account. It is completely free.
Setting up a few classes and rubrics will take some time. But once you have your classes inputted, the rest is easy. You'll get the hang of it in no time.
Setting up classes:
While you can create classlists lists rubrics directly on the website, I would suggest doing it in Microsoft Excel, using the .csv templates that are provided. Remember to save each .csv file separately for each class and rubric that you have!
All that is required in there are the first and last names, and a given “student ID”. You can input their email addresses as well (for emailing them their rubrics and marks). If are a homeroom teacher, you might find it easier to add each student one by one if you are unfamiliar with .csv files, but if you're like me (a language specialist with 14 classes), .csv is the only way to go. No one would enjoy individually inputting almost four hundred names.
Once your classes are complete, go back to the website and choose “Import Roster” under the Admin tab and “manage students” section.
Check out this short video I created to show the ease of marking using ForAllRubics, both on iPad and iPhone:
Setting up your first rubric:
There are a lot of sample rubrics on the website that you can access on your PC. You can check them out and then customize them as well:
If you want to start a rubric from scratch (maybe even transfer a pre-existing one that you have used in the past), you can do it within the website, or do it again in .csv format in Microsoft excel (I find this latter method easier and more clear-cut). This is a rubric I just threw together for this review. This took me literally five minutes:
Remember to use the “Save as…” function in Excel. Import the rubrics on PC version of the website (not available on iPad).
Synchronization is obviously an important feature of ForAllRubrics. Teachers will want to ensure all the data inputted on iPad will make its way to the website. Make sure you always tap: “Go Online” and after a few seconds your devices will all sync nicely together.
Remember to add the website to your home screen on your devices. This creates an “icon” where you can access the service as if it were an app.
Here is a screenshot of a sample class with a sample project rubric. Marks are all recorded, along with the date of assessment and options to print/email. You are able to use your rubrics across all your classes. Change classes by tapping the area right above the green “Options” :
Tip: Don't choose the “Mobile App Login” option for now
Unfortunately I did have some trouble working with their “Mobile Login”. This feature is supposed to give you data collection without requiring internet access. However, multiple attempts to sync any data while logged into this option failed. Everything worked fine on all devices under: “Website login”. Perhaps until the developers figure this out, I would avoid any offline assessing. Make sure you are online when you are marking your rubrics. Avoid choosing “Mobile App Login” for now. I will update this section when a solution is provided. I did speak with tech support, and they did mention that this is a “work in progress”.
There is also a very comprehensive FAQ section, based on their own blog. Take a look at it if you have any further questions. Your answers will be found there. Everything you need to get set up is clearly laid out for you.
Not only can you input data, but this data can be analyzed in different facets as well. This is a great way to check stats and see how your students are measuring up to both your standards and core standards. Finally, all this analysis can be downloaded back into .csv format for your records. Here is just one example of the teacher analysis:
I can honestly say that I am very excited to try ForAllRubrics out with my classes when the new school year begins. For a free service, this is going to be an excellent way to further incorporate the iPad into my teaching (essentially the very reason for teachingwithipad.org!). This makes me want to use/create even more rubrics than I currently do. Rubrics are an ideal way of assessing students: Students are able to see exactly what is expected of them. They know the criteria for all the projects that are assigned. For educators, rubrics can give a clear picture of the strengths and weaknesses of the students. This is a win-win for both students and teachers. Grading is not the most fun part of our job, but I believe with ForAllRubrics, grading can become both easier and more convenient. It can eliminate paper as well: Graded rubrics don't have to be printed, but emailed instead to both students and parents. Give ForAllRubrics a try this summer and you won't regret it once your assignments start rolling in.