Getting on Board with GradeCam

Almost a year ago, I wrote a post on modern grading software, namely sites like GradeCam and QuickKey, which allow teachers to ditch the traditional ScanTrons in favor of a program that gives them instant data.

While I remain a big supporter of QuickKey’s promise to always remain a free service (EDIT: they recently announced a premium account coming soon – $50 a year per teacher), I recently got my school rolling with a trial subscription for GradeCam.  Ultimately, it came down to technology and hardware.  QuickKey is still limited to only it’s iPhone/iPad app (although they recently also announced an upcoming Android app), meaning that, if a school or teacher does not have an iPhone/iPad, they are out of luck.  My school has just made the transition to having all staff use SurfacePro 3 tablet devices and, with GradeCam’s promise of it being able to work with “virtually any webcam or document camera,” we are able to easily use our SP3’s to integrate this software.

Additionally, even though I am a huge fan of FREE, paying for a service means you will be able to get more out of it.  Response time with the GradeCam help reps is amazingly fast, the site is easy to navigate, and the charts it allows you to create are done in a manner that is both easy to read and nice to look at.  The site also seems to work with just about any online gradebook/student management system out there – meaning my teachers can instantly import their grades from GradeCam into their gradebook with the press of a few keys.  It also has a “patch” of sorts that allows GradeCam and our student management system to communicate, meaning it will automatically update teacher rosters in GradeCam on a DAILY BASIS.  Such a great add on – and it means less work for the site admin!  Additionally, while we are paying $2.50 a student per year for our roughly 825 students, it is still cheaper than the roughly $4,000-$5,000 a YEAR we would spend on ScanTron papers ALONE (never mind maintenance on the temperamental machines).

Yesterday, I gave a training on GradeCam to the entire faculty, with the end goal of having them walk out of the room ready to implement the site in the classroom.  I put together a pretty detailed PowerPoint laying out the steps in setting your account up.  It is linked below if you would like to use it for yourself or for your district.

 POWERPOINT – CLICK TO VIEW

Overall, the teachers are excited and I am looking forward to what the site will be able to help us accomplish!  Does your school use GradeCam or another service like it?  I would love to hear your feedback!

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Jumping Back in with WeVideo

Hello!

It has been a while since my last post, so welcome to all the new followers, and thank you for stopping by!  I hope you are finding useful information here – please drop me a line if there is something you would like to see on the blog!

I have been neck deep in new projects with teachers at my school and can’t wait to start telling you about some of the tools I have been using.  First up is a great site called WeVideo.

Now that my school is 1:1 with laptops, many teachers are now shifting to having students create video content, mostly for unit or semester projects.  I love the idea of this, but always found it frustrating when I used Windows Movie Maker, the program that comes pre-installed on all of our student devices.  It often would shut down, stall, or pop up error messages, making it hard to get meaningful work done in a short amount of time.  This is why I was so happy when I discovered WeVideo through another tech-teacher colleague of mine.

WeVideo is one of the most versatile free video editing tools out there.  First of all, it is cloud based and will sync across devices (and there’s a app for it too) – always great for people on the go.  Secondly, it allows the user to choose between several different levels of editing tools, ranging from very basic to very advanced, making it a great site to use withe younger and older students alike.  In terms of the actual video editing, it closely mirrors Movie Maker, meaning that, if you have a working knowledge of Movie Maker, you can quickly and easily teach yourself how to use WeVideo.

My favorite part of WeVideo, however, is its ability to “share” video projects.  Similar to Google Drive and SkyDrive, WeVideo allows for multiple collaborators to share and edit the same video file.  As a teacher, evaluating the usefulness of an application in the classroom, this always scores big points.  Now, this feature only comes with a paid subscription, however I feel the cost for the license is actually pretty reasonable, given how powerful of a tool this could be.

I am curious to hear from you out there – what is your video editing tool of choice?  I am always looking for new ideas!