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?