I’ve taken a break from writing report cards. Why don’t the people that design report card writing software ever think to ask a classroom teacher what they need? It drives me crazy when software developers produce substandard products that are less useful and more time consuming than paper and pen. People, we have the technology, get it right. However, all is not darkness and doom.
An interesting product that has just come out is the Owle http://www.wantowle.com/Welcome.html . It is an adapter for the iPhone and markedly improves the video quality. While this product is designed for the iPhone, the principle could be applied to any smartphone. A smartphone can become a useful information gathering and sharing tool. With online video editing such as Movie Masher http://www.moviemasher.com/ you can take decent video clips, edit, and share them on the web, in minutes. If you want to brush up on your video skills try Video 101 http://www.video101course.com/Editing/e_50.html
Copyright is always a thorny issue when you are trying to illustrate a blog or some other work you want to share with a public audience. There is always creative commons which allows certain uses of images. Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/grade5/ offers such a service. I recently found a site that claims no copyright and has a selection of excellent photos http://aksinya.wordpress.com/ .
The connected classroom project has started to use Moodle http://moodle.org/ . Moodle is the FaceBook of education. It is part of an emerging class of social media that has the potential to change the way children are educated. Moodle offers a way to manage all the tasks that teachers and students need to accomplish in a totally digital format. Moodle is not perfect but it is functional. Colleagues at my school are beginning to transfer all their assignments onto Moodle. With Moodle, a Smartboard, Bridgit and Elluminate we can provide a powerful educational experience without paper and possibly without a bricks and mortar classroom.
Well I guess it is time to get back to the report cards. Writing the blog has reminded me of all the great technology available and has restored my faith in the web 2.0 future. Hopefully, by this time next year I can report that report card writing has left the dark ages behind.