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.
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!