Meet My New Pal

This semester I have been blessed with 3 really nice classes to teach; 2 undergrad, 1 graduate. There are almost 50 students between the three groups, and it seems they are almost all named Kate. Well, Kate, Kathryn, Kaitlin or Katie/Katy to be more specific. Lovely young women all!

This proliferation of Kates should make it pretty easy to remember names, but  I have to grade each student individually, so  that’s where I need more. I need to differentiate Kate Smith from Kate Jones from Kate Hepburn. Usually I have my students create name tags and I make a seating chart at the beginning of a course. I use the name tags for a week or two, then try to wing it. This usually starts with me calling someone by the wrong name (unless it’s a Kate). The seating chart is only as reliable as the territorial types make it – some sudents like to roam in search of that perfect seat for a session or two, so one week Kate is second row third seat, but the next she gets replaced by Rob, the guy who got to class first and took her spot. I’ve been humbled by my poor memory for names in a too many situations. Enough already.

A colleague at work showed me an app called TeacherPal on her iPad last week. I realized this could be the short term memory pill I needed. TeacherPal is a personal organizer I can use to track attendance, grades and personal notes about each student — and it’s free! But the best part  about TeacherPal is that the information on each student can include their photo! I can even put the photos on a seating chart! So last week the iPad went around each classroom as students took one other’s pictures to add to my TeacherPal file.

The undergrads took my request for photos well. The grads took it like I would, with a grimace and some eye rolling. Some asked if I could wait until the next session so they could look better, but in the end, after I promised not to post their shots on Facebook, they too sent my iPad around the room for Picture Day.

After my initial explanation of TeacherPal, one of my students called out, “Be careful! Apps crash!”

Should I have backup? There’s a lot riding on this, but the format is so cool!

Is this iCloud territory? Is my record keeping safe in a cloud?



About geralynarango

Hello! My name is Geralyn Arango. I write two blogs about two very different topics: Down Gluten, Down Lactose, Down syndrome is about my family's search for a normal life in the face of my son's dietary restrictions, his disability and his wonderfulness. Dr. Mom and the iPads is a blog about my journey to the use of the iPad as an educational tool for my son who has Down syndrome and for the special education majors I teach at a university in Philadelphia. I love to write and hope through these blogs to engage in conversation with people who share an interest in either or both of my blog topics. I am also in the process of revising a soon-to-be published memoir on caregiving...I hope you will stick around until it's ready to go! G

2 responses to “Meet My New Pal

  1. I can’t wait to try this app! I, however, don’t have trouble remembering names because in my Tuesday afternoon class, there are 4 students named Kaitlyn, one Catherine, and one Kathleen. I just say, “Kate, will you please pass out these papers?” , and the job gets done.

  2. Geralyn Arango

    As my daughter would say, “it’s funny cuz it’s true!”

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