Ok, I must admit two things. First, I am not YET a teacher. Second, I was not a technology “aware” or “up to date” person… I still don’t consider that I am, tough I have been introduced to some neat apps and tools lately, especially for education practice.
The thing is, I am pretty impressed by what’s out there, and again, it might be from the fact that I am such a rookie in the field, but I am once again excited by the tool that I discovered today and I really think that it would come handy to use it as a teacher.
What is so exciting this time? Well it seems to me that Showbie is IN! First, it makes you save paper, which will please your conscience as well as the school direction to see you save on photocopies. Second, the deeper I get into my program, the closer I get to the profession, the more I realize that this latter can not be done nowadays without embracing new technologies. I really hope that the school board and direction that I will be working with will have as much strong believes as I do concerning this great opening to new ways of teaching.
Ok, so lets say that my students all have iPads. Once I registered as a teacher on Showbie, I can add my classes and pass the code to my students so they can also register. They will not need an email address for this. Next, I will post an assignment by joining a file which can be coming from any other Apple apps, or can be a short video or voice mail, an image or, simply a text note document. Students will receive a notification, then will be able to open the file and complete the task assigned. Once this is done, the student can right away submit their work with any document forms mentioned earlier. You are guessing that the student can later receive his/her work back with feedbacks, annotations and grades in the same account. A teacher could also transmit other material to the students, for example, let’s say you are working with students on creating a five paragraph essay and besides the material you are showing them in class, you want to give them other examples for them to access outside of the class. You can upload those documents as well as any class documents in Showbie along with the final assessment of them being able to write a five paragraph essay, where they can then turn it in to you there as well.
The great thing about Showbie is that it is compatible with numerous other Apple applications that can be used either by the teacher to correct and grade the assignment or by the students to complete their tasks. So a document saved into another application could be attached to be sent to a teacher or students. This can really make learning and sharing real fun. Right there I can feel the lightness of this process without endless paper transactions! The students that turn in their assignment sooner can allow the teacher to start the correction earlier too.
I can also see how enjoyable it could be for the students not having to deal with academic matter emails in their personal mailbox nor to carry numerous handout sheets. Also, it could be a good idea to let parents know about Showbie, so if they have an Apple device at home, they could be happy to look at their kid’s work.
One down side is the limited free use of it: Currently, there are three levels of Showbie accounts, all of which are free. But, be aware that the standard teacher account will limit you to 100 assignments. If you need more than that, and you surely will over time, you should encourage your school to sign up for a school or district account which has unlimited assignments.
Another con is that the Teacher feedback is based on the whole ‘assignment’ rather than individual aspects of it (eg if a child uploads a voice note, text note and file you cannot see which piece of feedback matches each aspect).
The other thing one could evoque, is that the use of Showbie in class is adding on to the list of the tools that a teacher and his/her students need to use. It is true that some educational platforms like Edmodo or TeacherKit integrate an option to share docs and assignments. I say, welcome to diversity! Especially with new technology and kids! Plus Showbie speciality is online document storage and sharing, so it made it fun and easy to do!
Show, be it!